Remote work

Trust as a foundation for modern work

Last week, we switched INNOQ to 100% remote work. The reason for this radical (or radical-looking) step was the spread of the novel Corona virus SARS-CoV-2, which needs to be contained. In concrete terms, this means that all our consultants will temporarily work exclusively from home.

We have sent the following e-mail to our customers and partners:

Dear customer,

You know us: we are no friends of rigid rules that unnecessarily patronize people in their way of working. Based on current developments and the expert recommendations for pandemic prevention, we have decided on the following measures to provide the best possible protection for the employees of our customers and partners, their environment and ultimately all of us:

  • Our consultants will continue to work for you, but until further notice they will work exclusively remotely
  • All appointments that would otherwise have taken place on your premises or in INNOQ offices are carried out remotely

We have long recommended to all our customers and partners the remote assignment of our consultants whenever it makes sense for the project context. We have never pursued this dogmatically and design our work in consultation with you in such a way that the result is both efficient and effective for both project and team.

Our consultants have experience with the many forms of remote work and are happy to support you and your team in finding pragmatic solutions if the appropriate infrastructure is not available.

We hope to be able to make our contribution to slow down the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We are closely monitoring further developments and reassess every week how we intend to deal with the situation. If there are any changes to the above measures, you will hear from us immediately.

Such a big change from one day to the next is relatively easy for us, as we have been practicing this mode of working for 20 years. We are aware that, as an IT consultancy, we are more privileged than many other companies to be able to work in this way on a permanent basis. But the current situation also effects us in ways for which we do not have standard processes or patent remedies. The fact that more and more cities and regions are now implementing a “lockdown” is causing bottlenecks in childcare. Here, too, we are trying to resolve this by placing maximum trust in our employees:

Parents who have to care for / work with their children at home only work as much as they can - in individual cases maybe not at all - and of course they do not need to take paid time off to do so. 1/2
English translation: Parents who have to care for / work with their children at home only work as much as they can - in individual cases maybe not at all - and of course they do not need to take paid time off to do so.

Despite all the misfortune that the Corona pandemic brings with it, it also offers opportunities: many companies now spontaneously send their employees to their home office. As a current survey by the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) shows, the vast majority of employees are willing to do so. However, 45.7% do not yet see their employer in a position to implement this technically. In a very short time, it will now become clear what the problems are–whenever difficult situations arise, there is a chance to tackle problems immediately and without bureaucracy. Technical infrastructure is one thing: powerful notebooks, company telephones, e-mail, chat and video conference systems that can be reached from “outside” are essential and thus the basic prerequisite. More important, however, we have to rethink this on a grand scale: trust in employees must be fundamentally anchored in the company. Otherwise, there is a danger that, depending on the size of the company, control mechanisms will continue to be maintained or–worse still–new ones will be created. Control requires infrastructure. This infrastructure often has a destructive rather than a productive effect. Destructive infrastructure must be “dismantled”.

There are many activities and roles for which it makes sense to now establish remote work as the “default”. Companies must rethink their offices, meeting rooms and technology as a service. Our experience shows that people adapt their working methods to the requirements and objectives of the situation anyway. The company should support them with services and learn from their usage.

In their current article “Successfully working in the home office” (in German), my colleagues Simon Harrer and Jochen Christ provide many practical tips for people who are now switching to remote working. But for old hands who have been practicing this for years, there are also certainly a few tricks in the book. Some of our colleagues are also sharing their experiences on Twitter under the hashtag #SwitchToRemote. Our Podcast episode on the topic of “Remote Work” with my colleague Daniel Westheide is a bit older, but by no means outdated. A team is also successfully developing software for our customer Breuninger using the new approach “Remote Mob Programming”.

We have cancelled our upcoming training dates for the time being, because up to now our trainings always took place in person. But does this have to be the case under all circumstances? We do not think so. We will take care of the necessary infrastructure for the upcoming dates, so that the participants can attend from a place of their choice. We will also try to conduct our trainings for software architecture education according to iSAQB remotely whenever it makes sense. Our trainers are already testing how this can be implemented effectively. iSAQB will of course award credits to participants for remote participation as well. We will report our experiences with remote trainings in a future blog post.

Wherever there is a hitch, we will try to find a pragmatic solution for our customers and for us in the coming time.

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