I loved it! Opening my coworking space for meetings, creative design thinking workshops and welcoming my first coworkers into the community. This was my dream coming true. I had selected and picked every single piece of furniture and I could finally pursue what had been in my mind for 2 1/2 years. This is February 1st 2020! Three weeks later COVID-19 hit the world. And my coworking space as well! All booked events and workshops got cancelled hourly and all invitations to my official opening party went into the trash. During that first week I had several sleepless nights, thinking about the meaning of this and what I was suppose to learn from this. Persistency? Positiveness? Strength?
Many companies probably went through a similar phase. Shock. Panic. Fear. Indeed it became very clear that digitization in the school system was very far from perfect. Companies who have been fighting new work and digitization for years suddenly turned every meeting and every customer facing activity into the virtual world. Employees who had not been able to work from home, were now asked to do so, and within days it became clear to all of us that our world would be changed for ever. Now, I have told my closest friends already as the new feeling inside me changed from panic into euphoria. I felt this special feeling inside which I only have on Dec 31st during the day where I can hardly wait for New Year to start, celebrating, saying goodbye to old stuff and excited about an entire year ahead of me. This was the feeling which manifested itself inside of me: at last something new. Change. A break down of old systems.
There will be no turning back to how the world used to be, and thank god for that! We have a huge opportunity to turn this situation into an amazing journey. Re-inventing. Re-thinking. Re-creating! As Germany started opening up on May 4th, many companies and employees were faced with the aftermath of COVID-19, namely how to you return safely to work again and how are we defining work in our new world. Workplace used to be the place we biked or drove to, but with our new learning what if workplace could be something else than the choice between kitchen table and headquarter? Workplaces need to be flexible, adjustable, (clear definitely) and creative. A place I can form to my desires. Maybe I need a place to quickly log into for 2 hours while my partners are covering homeschooling. Maybe I need to meet up with a customer but driving 1 hour to my company address would take away family time in the other end. Maybe I need an alternative to my commute 5 days a week. Or maybe I simply want to get inspired to thinking new thoughts by changing my work environment and meeting new people.
Mobility is indeed being re-defined and hopefully with a huge degree of freedom of choice, freedom of space, freedom of life. I urge to a broad discussion of the right to home office by changing this into a right of mobile work, or the right to freely choose how my workplace and week look like.
I have no sleepless nights any longer. I thank this to the new coworkers who have signed up the last weeks and days. I thank this to the requests coming in per mail asking for meeting rooms within social distancing, and I thank this to the online bookings of the meeting cubicals. This. Too. Will. Pass.