The most important rule for teamwork

We had become accustomed to working from home over the past 2 years. Do you prefer to work from home, go to the office or do you want a mix? As a manager, would you prefer to have your team around you, or do you work in remote teams? How does it affect teamwork? Please share thoughts by commenting the story.

Good reasons to work from home are well known, there’s no time wasted by commuting, it is more environmentally friendly due to less transport requirements, work-life balance (with focus on balance), less stress, less disruption and more.

Why would someone prefer office instead? It stands out that communication and its frequency in the form of physical meetings, team experiences and immediate direct feedback is a major reason for visiting the office. There is no doubt that this cannot be dismissed out of hand, and yet there are often customs in modern day-to-day work that thwart precisely this benefit. Instead of visiting colleagues in the office, which would mean walking 20 meters through a corridor, or even going from the third to the fifth floor, modern media are used. It strikes me that more and more people are communicating in writing instead of verbally. Apparently, many people find it easier to write a few lines in a chat than to pick up the phone. A chat is written once, the answer can wait, but in the case of a telephone call, the feedback is immediate; however, this can also be negative, starting with not picking up the handset and ending with dismissals such as “Please call again in 15 minutes, I’m talking to a customer at the moment”. Nobody likes to be rebuffed like that, even if it can be explained by logical processes, it is at least annoying, or even leaves the feeling of not being heard. Writing, on the other hand, doesn’t hurt, at some point the person you write to will answer.

One could exaggerate the conclusion that if you don’t sit together in a very small space in the office per se, the transition to the home office is smooth, because if I prefer to chat, it doesn’t matter whether I bridge a distance of 20 yards or 20miles. So an open-plan office would be best? No, because a number of scientific studies speak against it, in open-plan offices communication is decreasing instead of increasing: because you disturb each other by talking, you isolate yourself using noise-cancelling headsets. Luckily there is still the coffee room and the corridor, where the really important information is exchanged. These 2–3 minute power talks are notorious, not without good reason, as the best unofficial information medium. Much more information can be conveyed in 2–3 minutes of verbal exchange than can be written in the same amount of time, and the information is enriched by genuine emotional encounters that no emoticon could convey so perfectly ;-)

Nobody would think of sending someone an invitation to a meeting for a 2-minute chat, but a spontaneous meeting needs neither an invitation nor a more important reason than thirst. The main thing is that we talk to each other, language is the catalyst of cooperation, we should remember that, whether in the office or when working from home.

Teamwork is at its best when you talk to each other often.

To be, or not to be at the office, that is the question

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CEO, innovator and leader, 25 years international product management experience high-tech hard- and software. www.christian-schorr.com

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Christian Schorr

Christian Schorr

CEO, innovator and leader, 25 years international product management experience high-tech hard- and software. www.christian-schorr.com

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