2022-02-24 | Verena Stiegler | 5 min read
Home office, Berlin or maybe Regensburg?
Those who follow Scandio on social media will already know: on February 1, 2022, we officially opened our fourth location by moving into our Regensburg office! However, the choice of location was not made by the management, as one might expect, but by the employees themselves. If this seems unusual, here is a brief review of the events:
In March 2021, two Scandians moved to Regensburg - since we mainly worked from home at that time anyway, that wasn’t a problem, thanks to digitization. In the course of the year, more Regensburgers joined us… and the wheels started rolling. But Regensburg is not an exception, our offices in Augsburg and Berlin also developed the same way!
Work-Life-Integration vs. Work-Life Balance
But now, how does our new office relate to work-life integration?
To that end, let’s first define what the term work-life integration actually means (this phrase seems so new that there isn’t even a Wikipedia article on it yet ;)). Work-life integration refers to a smooth blend of work and private life, as opposed to a usually strict separation. There are no set schedules or defined working hours here. Work is done as it best fits into the individual’s daily routine. And that can mean going for a jog at 1 p.m. and bringing out the laptop again at 8 p.m. to check e-mails.
In this way, work-life integration is clearly different from work-life balance, which has been the general goal up until now. In this case, work and life are strictly separated from one another. In an ideal scenario, this results in a balanced ratio of working hours and free time.
However, these two approaches must not contradict each other, because the concept of work-life integration also strives for a balance of work and free time - only more efficiently. We all have those moments when we stare at the screen but nothing really seems to be progressing, right? Those who practice work-life integration turn these work-related “idle times” to their advantage and effectively fill them with more suitable activities that fit their own daily routine much better.
How Scandio practices work-life integration
So after this brief overview, let’s take a look at what Scandio is all about with regard to work-life integration. Our basic principle is based on self-organized teams. That means we eliminate hierarchies and replace positions with roles and personal responsibility. This gives everyone the opportunity to help shape the processes within the company by contributing their own ideas and suggestions for solutions. It goes without saying that strict nine-to-five working hours do not fit in with this. We believe that flexible working hours based on trust and diverse working time models enable more effective and stress-free collaboration.
And to take this idea to its logical conclusion, flexible working hours also include a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to the physical workplace. Even before Corona, we lived by the principle of “everyone can do it, no one should do it” in regards to an open home office arrangement. Over the years, this policy has evolved into a hybrid corporate structure that allows us to respond flexibly to the local preferences of our employees. We want our employees to enjoy the social and spatial benefits of an office as well as the advantages of working from home, regardless of where they live. Living where you work is a thing of the past. In the spirit of successful work-life integration, the new approach reads: work where you live.
Then have a look at our job offers!
What are the requirements for successful work-life integration?
Of course, a basic framework is required in order to benefit from the concept of work-life integration. First and foremost, employees themselves are called upon to recognize and use their capacities and routines in everyday life. Anyone who knows that he/she tends to fall into a motivational hole in the afternoon should start from there and fill this period with more appropriate activities. This way, he/she can work on the customer’s project with renewed enthusiasm in the evening. The most important factor here, however, is an emlpoyer with an open mindset to begin with. Trust in the employees must be built up and openly communicated in order to avoid a guilty conscience. After all, it can feel “wrong” at first to no longer strictly separate life and work. However, due to the increase in work from home offices, this is already the basic principle in most companies and will certainly become more and more relevant in the future.
Apart from the humane factors, however, the technical aspect also plays a significant role. Anyone who is dependent on synchronized collaboration with colleagues or has a diary full of meetings will probably have little time for private errands. The key word here is digitization. Due to the digitalization boom of recent years, more and more companies are turning to modern collaboration tools such as Confluence, Jira or Slack. Used correctly, these enable asynchronous collaboration and thus offer more scope and flexibility in everyday work. For example, Confluence provides a digital workspace for distributed teams where knowledge and collaboration are brought together. This so-called “single source of truth” enables employees to find exactly the information they need, regardless of the time, location, or presence of their colleagues. In addition, many practical features of modern messaging services such as Slack allow for more efficient collaboration across different locations and time zones.
Benefits and risks
However, if the boundaries between work and free time become too blurred, this can also entail a number of risks. The term after work quickly loses its meaning when there is no longer a fixed framework within which work takes place. This means that checking e-mails in the evening can quickly degenerate into a 2-hour workathon, and the business cell phone is always in view, even during family celebrations. To prevent this, you need to maintain a certain degree of discipline and personal responsibility and have a sense for time management.
Apart from this, successful practiced work-life integration provides many benefits for employers and employees. The employer’s trust in the fact that, despite irregular working hours and without strict controls, no decrease in work performance is to be expected, considerably relaxes the working atmosphere and improves the general well-being of the employees. This in turn leads to higher motivation and stronger identification with the company on the part of the employees. Through open and respectful cooperation within the company, work becomes much more than just “work,” since the individual needs of each person can be met. Especially the generation of young professionals can no longer be be convinced “only” by a good salary. Flexibility and individuality are now at the top of the list of the most popular benefits.
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