Working from home once a week

Career at thyssenkrupp | Working from home is a big topic at thyssenkrupp and other companies. Kerstin Heinrichs from the Diversity & Inclusion team tells us why and talks about her experience of remote working.

Ms. Heinrichs, do you work from home yourself?
Yes, I do, one day a week. It has advantages for me: I’m spared the stress of commuting, and I also have more time for my two small children.

Doesn’t the quality of your work suffer?
Quite the contrary, I can focus more on my work at home because there are fewer disruptions. In the office, there are lots of little things I have to deal with during the day. The peace and quiet I have at home and the ability to concentrate means I actually work better.

But don’t you miss out on lots of information when you’re at home?

I’m still available for important things – I can receive e-mails on my home computer and calls to my office phone number are forwarded. And if there’s something major like a meeting I need to attend, then of course I go into the office. So it’s a misconception to say that people working from home are not properly available.

Does thyssenkrupp have standard rules for working from home?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for working from home. So rather than one Groupwide policy we have different rules for different job situations. But in general there’s a growing acceptance of different working models at thyssenkrupp, as part of the culture change taking place throughout the Group. We are supporting this change, so that’s why our team is pushing for greater openness with regard to working from home.

Does anyone monitor your productivity when you work from home?
No, the whole thing is based on trust. But it’s no different at the office. No-one there looks over my shoulder to check whether I’m really working.


Why has workplace flexibility become such a big issue – not just at thyssenkrupp but at other major corporations as well?
It’s a way of retaining or attracting good employees. Applicants ask about it specifically in job interviews. The possibilities of working from home can be the key to whether someone chooses a company or not. Things have changed a lot over the past few decades. The traditional housewife who runs the household all on her own has become much more of a rarity. The number of commuters is growing. And single parents are no longer the big exception.

What changes do you expect to see in the future?
The young people starting work in the next few years will have completely different needs. They have grown up with digital media and no longer think in terms of standardized jobs and fixed hours. They want employers to provide models tailored to their everyday realities.

Who can employees turn to if they would like to work from home?
The best thing is to discuss the possibilities with their supervisor and the HR department.

Kerstin Heinrichs is part of the Diversity & Inclusion team established around one and a half years ago at thyssenkrupp. They consolidate efforts throughout the Group to increase employee diversity.

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