The passionate discussion about the challenges of digital working worlds was the core theme of the sixth LWI Conference (Leading Women in Industry) at the major German corporation Siemens on 22 June 2017. This internal ongoing training programme is aimed at women in managerial positions, and our company founder Brigitte Kaltwasser was invited to its podium discussion on "Corporate Culture in the Age of Digitisation". The "Raspberry Palace", Siemens Headquarters in Erlangen, was booked out once again this year with almost 300 participants.
This highly topical subject was introduced by the physicist Dr Victoria Ossadnik, member of the management at Microsoft Deutschland, who presented the office of the future at Microsoft. Going hand in hand with the requirements for the digitised world, there are no more fixed workstations at the new Microsoft location in Munich-Schwabing. Instead, there are ideal conditions for a contemporary form of cooperation and means of individual development for all employees.
Podium discussion on the challenges of digitisation in communication
But modernisation also harbours obstacles. The extent to which established company structures represent limits to innovations and digitisation of the workplace was discussed by Brigitte Kaltwasser, proprietor of the Kaltwasser communications agency, Olga Dick and Sabine Linz, managing directors or the online jeweller Amoonic, Julia Kehl, Vice-President Supply Chain Management at Siemens, Anja Osswald, managing director at the agency for interpersonal communication Phocus Brand Contact and Sophia von Rundstedt, proprietor of the careers company Rundstedt & Partner. Above all, all of the participants in the podium discussion agreed on one thing: that digital communication does not exclude face-to-face communication. Communication using digital aids merely complements "real" communication so that people can react flexibly and quickly. However, there were considerable differences in the views of the extent to which emails are being replaced by alternatives.
Workplace of the future goes hand in hand with mobility, flexibility and trust
As the discussion continued, it because clear that the female entrepreneurs had had the experience that not all employees wanted to break open established company structures. The desire for mobile workstations, i.e. a free choice of workplace, was not necessarily age-related, but more type-related. What is decisive with more flexible working structures is a calm and tolerant manner and a situational approach to a person's individual needs thanks to a sensitive and coaching management style. Moreover, more attention should be paid to the results and achievements of the employees - and not to mere presence. Mobility, flexibility and trust are the key elements of a modern working world.
Kaltwasser Kommunikation created mobile office spaces in its Nuremberg and Berlin locations as much as two years ago. This means that the employees work independently in terms of time and, for example, can prepare texts or presentations sitting in their gardens with their laptops. Depending on the task, the employees can also sit together in the meeting room or meet in creative zones, such as on the blue sofa, the terrace or in the kitchen. But rules such as the clean desk policy must be adhered to for the principle of the free choice of workstation to work. This means that everyone has to clear their desk before they go home. High towers of papers are thus a thing of the past.
Agency Service: Press and Public Relations
Reference: Press and Public Relations for Siemens