Experiences in the Corona pandemic

​​​​​​​Home office remains an integral part of the working world at EJOT​​​​

"100 percent home office? No thanks," says Andreas Fey, Project Manager of Digitisation at EJOT, and many of his colleagues will think the same. The long lockdown is getting on our nerves. People want to get back to their workplaces. However, experience shows: working from home brings flexibility into everyday work, especially in times of the corona pandemic. But the digital meetings will not be able to replace the personal exchange in face-to-face meetings or a short chat at the coffee machine. And neither should they.  

At EJOT, too, it has been shown that the effects of the corona pandemic quickly dismantled reservations and inhibitions towards home office, video conferences and other digital tools. The will to change and its technical implementation can be clearly felt. Ultimately, the possibility of working from home can result in a consistent separation of functions in the departments and offices and thus achieve essential protection against infection with the corona virus at the workplace.

And for parents, it has been possible to handle bottlenecks in terms of care with the option of working from home: closed daycare centres and homeschooling have pushed many mothers and fathers to their limits at home in the past few months. The possibility of dividing up the working day flexibly depending on the level of care needed was extremely helpful, according to feedback from many colleagues. Emails can be answered in the evening when the children are asleep. "During the Corona crisis, the EJOT management made all employees and managers aware of the need to stick together when it comes to family matters - also when it comes to response times: these can then sometimes be different than on normal home office days," explains Managing Director Angelika Wetzstein.

"Even without the restrictions of the Corona period, the opportunity to work in the home office creates a lot of relief and less stress in family life," emphasises Christoph Schoeberl, QM Complaint Manager at EJOSYST in Tambach-Dietharz. This is particularly interesting for employees who have a long commute to work. "The travel time no longer needs to be factored into the private and business day planning, which brings a high degree of flexibility and efficiency."

As pleasant and useful as mobile work from home is, nothing works without the technical requirements. And these were fulfilled at EJOT. At the beginning of the pandemic, there were already around 1000 remote accesses, explains Carsten Sauer, head of the IT infrastructure department. A further 200 mobile workstations were set up using private computers or laptops, which colleagues can use to log in from home. The private equipment is used exclusively as a display medium without direct access to the company network. A quick and, above all, secure solution, because IT security in particular should not be neglected in this delicate situation at the beginning of the pandemic.

The EJOT group currently uses 670 desktops and 1500 notebooks. There are 350 desktops and 920 notebooks in use at the German locations. 182 notebooks have been installed since July 2020. In order to ensure replenishment despite long delivery times, the IT department has built up a warehouse with its partner CANCOM, where approx. 90 devices are available and can be replenished if necessary, says Sauer.

In a survey on mobile working at EJOT, 75 percent of employees stated that they were well prepared for it. "Especially with regard to the circumstances of the first lockdown and the associated speed of change, this is remarkable and gives me a positive view of the further development of this topic," emphasises Angelika Wetzstein. The survey presented and idea of the broad opinion of the employees at EJOT, which is very important for further implementation and development. Further steps are, for example, information on the legal framework as well as occupational health and safety for mobile working. Or an "online etiquette guide" with tips and tricks for improving communication in virtual meetings.

Angelika Wetzstein is also satisfied with the use of the home office in the individual work areas. The rate has continuously improved over the past few months. However, it must always be taken into account that a large part of the EJOT workforce works in production, where mobile working from home is not possible. In the classic administrative areas of the business units, the rates varied in March 2021 between 47.7 percent (holding company) up to 62.2 percent (Plastics technology QF sales).

The experiences from the past weeks and months show: The pandemic will be pushed back further, home office will remain. Home office will remain an integral part of the working world at EJOT.