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2nd Digital Afterwork Talk: How Do You Get Back To The Office?

Slowly most of us are grooved in, with home office, video conferencing and digital signatures. But: Returning to normal is almost more difficult than retreating to decentralized work from home. How do the individual fund companies handle the situation, and what are the differences between Germany, Austria and Switzerland?

This was the topic of our 2nd digital afterwork talk. Under the moderation of Manuela Fröhlich, via zoom video conference, Kristina Flügel (DWS, Frankfurt), Alexandra Frania (Threadneedle International, Vienna), Dr. Anja Hochberg (Swisscanto, Zurich), Evi Vogl (Amundi, Munich) and Anne Zeller (Corestate Capital Investors, Frankfurt), talked about how the return to the office is handled in their company.

The high number of registrations we received shows that the topic is of high interest. For those who could not be there or who would like to listen again, here is the link to the YouTube recording.

Returning to the office is done step by step and carefully
With several fund companies, 30% of the workforce is already back in the office or will shortly be going to the office, with the return to the office being largely voluntary. In one company, it was as much as 50% who are already working on site again.

It is carefully considered how to work hygienically and avoid possible infections in the offices. This ranges from a rule that only one person can be in the coffee kitchen at a time, to working in shifts so that the entire on-site workforce does not have to be in quarantine in the event of a possible infection. Of course, a lot of disinfectants are used, and there are distance regulations everywhere. Apparently, wearing masks is a difficult point, which is why many offices try to do without them and place even more value on compliance with distance regulations and hygiene discipline.

Employees who have small children who could not yet go to daycare or school regularly again, seem to be a challenge for managers. In all of the fund companies represented, the response is extremely understanding and flexible: You can also work during off-peak hours or from the home office on certain days when the children still need to be looked after.

Positive things are taken into the “new normal”
The podium agreed that there would be a “new normal” after the corona pandemic. They were convinced that some positive effects of the Corona measures would be taken into the new everyday office life. So everyone is now familiar with digital meetings and people no longer want to travel across the country for every company or customer meeting. That would be both, positive for travel budgets and for the environment.

In many companies, the fear of flexible working hours and home office has disappeared, and people would like to continue with that in the future. However, there will be certain days on which the workforce will be in the office, so that they can speak to each other personally. This would bring us a little closer to the flexibility at work that women in particular have long been demanding. And by the way: Men also appreciate flexible working, especially since the younger generation in particular also looks after the children.

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