A talk with Karla Aßmann and Simone Natrup, Head of Workplace Consulting at ASSMANN, about trends such as new work, the Covid-19-complaint office and their innovative ASSMANN 4ROOMS service.
The world of work has changed since spring 2020. How do you feel about this change and what advantages do you see in it?
Simone Natrup: This transformation has been with us on various levels for a long time now. New Work is a notable trend, where employees can realise more of their potential. That is reflected of course in our use of space, in the development from single offices to open-plan, shared spaces or places where many people work, for instance. The main focus now is on more areas for communication and shared workplaces. That is associated with new work processes. It extends from employees who don’t have any strong collaborations, who might leave their workplace just once for their lunch break, right through to knowledge-based work such as scrum, for example. In agile projects, colleagues will even work closely together in different teams, with customers and users across several departments.
But the spring of 2020 brought about even more change and accelerated these trends. Just like everyone else, we, as office outfitters, were also confronted with these new challenges. But on this point, too, we were well able to see things from our customers’ point of view.
At ASSMANN we were able to shift our employees to working from home from one day to the next, however, because we had previously invested well in advance in a new office structure and flexible technology. Even our customers and specialist retailers noticed how quickly we got moving with digital Sharepoint in the cloud or with virtual team meetings. At the same time we reorganised our open areas to be separated into safe social distances with a 50 percent rotating occupation. That way we didn’t lose direct contact with each other. But we still of course had challenges such as children who needed teaching at home or slow WiFi in our home offices. Many a conservative boss has surely realised by now that their employees are actually much better able to concentrate and work more productively from home.
How does ASSMANN support companies if they want to go back to a Covid-19-compliant office?
Simone Natrup: We have a few new services for this in our portfolio. With us it starts already in the workplace area. This is where we work out, together with our customers and our specialist retail partners, what they need to do to meet the requirements as set out in their general conditions. The central focus then includes the area sizes and types, the quotas of people working from home and the workplace-sharing systems right through to “cleaning up” in preparation for a clean desk policy. We explain to employers about how workplace changes are carried out. Or we offer all sorts of really practical hygiene articles or warning stickers for greater safety from our online accessories shop.
You have introduced a new marketing service with ASSMANN 4ROOMS. What was the reason for this?
Karla Aßmann: It began with us around four years ago. We were faced with a strategic question. Do we just focus on white goods products, which are coming under increasing pressure in terms of price, or do we focus more on quality with a range of additional services? With regard to the latter, we still see ourselves as a reliable partner for our customers. And, as part of our new direction, we have created the new ASSMANN 4ROOMS service. It contains our four performance modules with their particular areas of expertise – workplace, creation, product and support. They are the four “Assmann Aces”, as we like to put it, that we give to our customers. As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, a re-thinking of dynamic structures is now taking place in many companies. Our new range of services fits in with this, which they now benefit from.
What industries are the target group for ASSMANN 4ROOMS?
Karla Aßmann: Our services are in fact suitable for all industries. We have consciously developed our systems so that the four modules work as a whole, but can be booked separately depending on the phase of the service. That depends on the individual wishes and objectives of our customers. As always, these include both private and public organisations. In the public sector, for example, document management and digitalisation are currently running at full speed. There, too, the individual modules are currently in much demand.
Finally, let’s take a look into the future: how is the world of work developing?
Karla Aßmann: It is becoming considerably more digital and, consequently, more dynamic. Companies still have to provide a place that people can identify with, especially as the culture of work is changing so rapidly. That is particularly important for attracting talent, where employees want to be recruited and retained for the long term. This means that the office, as a space, continues to be the centre for communication and collaboration. This is where cloud workers are happy to meet again and where the innovative spirit of an informal meeting is not lost on them. But we’ll have to wait and see whether this space will still be called “the office”.
Source: The “Gesunder Körper” (healthy body) health portal