My time belongs to me
By Martina Jahrbacher, Managing Director at the communications agency PR-COM in Munich
You don’t have to be a time researcher or a die-hard Momo fanatic to realize that the value of time has changed. A new awareness, digital change and last but not least the pandemic have shifted the priorities of many people, regardless of generation. Many colleagues in our teams have already opted for time bonuses, part-time models and flexible working hours. And I also notice in recruiting interviews that flexible time management is essential for many applicants when choosing an employer. We think this development is great and have decided to exemplify the idea that time belongs to everyone – even as an employer, we don’t want to dictate to our employees how they should use their time to perform their work for us. At PR-COM we try to make possible what is good for us as a community and as a company. Many team members now work in a wide variety of non-full-time constellations, some with a three or four-day week, others only in the mornings or afternoons. A few of us have brought a dog into the home office and take time for the dog school once a week. Two colleagues have become self-employed and are now working for us from abroad. The limit here is not so much our inventiveness or flexibility, but rather legal and tax requirements. We are very critical of the return to old presence models, as is currently happening in some companies, and also of the obligation to record working hours. These are steps in a direction that neither correspond to the interests of employees nor make them internationally competitive. Yes, that is living “German Angst”.
We do not understand the skepticism towards flexible and self-responsible employees in many companies. Is it insecurity, laziness, “controlism” or just a homegrown problem of the wrong mindset and lack of structure? Yes, the causality exists: the more flexible the working hours, the clearer work processes have to be set up, implemented and monitored. For years we have worked intensively on making the processes within the teams and the interfaces between everyone involved as predictable and repeatable as possible. With our self-developed collaboration software, we can map it digitally in such a way that it is no longer necessary to oblige employees to be available in the office. This compulsion to be in the office, with which previous generations grew up, is the deterrent for Generations Y and Z when it comes to recruiting. They demand an agile environment and the shortage of skilled workers is already playing into their hands – what will happen when the boomers generation is retiring across the board?
Denying change or ignoring it is not a forward-looking strategy. Rather, it is now important to use the potential that lies in the diversity of the teams. A work culture is never a one-way street. Nor is it created in isolated silos. It has to be as colorful as the people who work in it. However, this can only work if the hierarchy is flat, there is equal footing and interaction is lively – if values such as honesty and trust are lived in the company and not just advertised. Then geographical and temporal distances no longer play a decisive role – which does not mean that they cannot be made even more lively through joint encounters or team events.
PR-COM in Munich is an expert in PR, social media and communications and focuses on the high-tech and IT industry in the B2B environment. Unconditionally high quality is the top priority for all 45 colleagues. As a result, our consultants inspire their clients with the success they achieve month after month in the media and the trust that makes collaboration so valuable. Our 9-strong editorial team impresses with its many years of IT expertise coupled with journalistic skills. Because we find nothing more boring than conventional communication, we always go the extra mile and put our heart and soul into working on new strategies and ideas for our 50 customers. We know: Behind every strong agency is a strong team. That’s why we do everything we can to ensure that our employees feel comfortable and can develop further. For us, standing still is not an option. Read more at www.pr-com.de.