The pandemic has permanently changed all of our lives - and work. While flexible working hours and the possibility of working from home are nothing new in PA consulting, numerous other questions about working together arise in the context of New Work, which have been heightened as a result of the pandemic. How can we ensure that we communicate with each other remotely while coordinating our work as best as possible?

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More than working from home and flexible working hours - New Work in PA consulting

What do employees need in order to be able to work during the pandemic? What does our everyday work life look like after the pandemic? And how do we ensure that with all the advantages of New Work and flexible working, interpersonal relationships are not lost? As a smaller company in the industry, we in particular have given this topic a lot of thought over the past year and initiated concrete changes. In doing so, we have come to some important conclusions:

1. Working from home: The place of work has changed fundamentally for many people with an office job during the pandemic. In what is now the third year of the pandemic, many people are spending at least part of their working hours at home and working remotely. In a survey by the auditing and consulting firm EY, 81 percent of all respondents said they wanted to work at least partially remotely in the future. Many employers therefore have to adapt to significant changes in their work processes if they want to remain attractive to employees. At the same time, it must always be ensured that working remotely works just as well as in the office. And perhaps even more important: Employees must also feel being part of a team remotely, because WFH can of course also be isolating.

2. Creativity and personal exchange: What is not always easy in mobile and hybrid work is personal exchange. Not all employees are always present in the office at the same time (which would also not be acceptable during a pandemic!), and therefore there is a lack of small conversations in between or quick exchanges “over coffee” on current developments. This cannot be replaced remotely in the same way, which also is an important lesson for the post-pandemic period. Here, fixed office days or a weekly exchange in person could be a solution that still allows flexibility for everyone.

3. Flexible working hours: Of course, New Work also includes flexible working hours. According to the study mentioned above, 78 percent of those surveyed believe that in ten years they will be able to organize their working hours completely flexibly. In the medium term, an industry such as public affairs consulting needs a middle ground. Politically specified appointments or events, which take place during the day but often also in the evening, must be attended in the interests of the customer. But it is also true that flexibility makes sense for both employers and employees. We have introduced an individually usable overtime regulation that can be used flexibly. And, what always applies: there is a solution for everything!

4. An open work culture: One of the most important aspects of New Work for us is the work culture. This can include a variety of aspects, but one thing is certain: A good culture that is practiced every day cannot simply be established with one or two short measures. The culture must grow and requires the willingness and cooperation of everyone. However, as an employer, you can support this process with many measures that go beyond the often-quoted “fruit basket”. For us, this includes regular team events and celebrating birthdays together, but also the development of structured HR. This ranges from professional onboarding and digital training to regular feedback meetings. It is crucial to know that there is always someone the employees can turn to and with whom small and large questions and problems can be solved together. Clear structures are extremely helpful here, especially in times of remote work, as is a clear contact person. In the end there is a strong team in which everyone can rely on each other!

Conclusion: New Work is always a process that will probably never be fully completed. New requirements always result in new solutions. It is clear that the pandemic has permanently changed the world of work. It remains to be seen what further new possibilities the future brings. Against the background of a shortage of skilled workers and demographic change, however, one can only say: in the end, the most important thing is a strong team!