The Workplace of the Future

Florian Schomaker and Robert Wähnke want to the future workplace to enable people to collaborate. That goes way beyond digital solutions.

DMK is introducing new ways of working in many locations – and that includes the digital workplace of the future. How does that look?

Florian Schomaker: It is mainly characterized by the fact that users can access information and communicate independently of their location. In the future, it won’t matter where employees are working from or which device they are using. It will enable us to collaborate more efficiently with fewer resources, whether in the office or at flexible workplaces.

How does digital communication work?

Florian Schomaker: The basics of the digital workplace come from Microsoft 365 applications. In the future, we will collaborate using these cloud-based services, while of course ensuring we have maximum security and data protection.

Florian Schomaker, HR Manager Projects & Policies, DMK.

Are we already seeing the benefits?

Robert Wähnke: Yes, because the apps are already enabling people to collaborate more efficiently in the workplace and to communicate better and more quickly.

Florian Schomaker: Many companies and our competitors are continually upgrading their technology. Nowadays, highly-qualified people seeking jobs can often choose who they want to work for and by becoming more flexible in terms of where and when people work, we can make ourselves more attractive as an employer. That’s a real competitive advantage. Robert Wähnke: This is exactly where Microsoft 365 helps – as it creates very flexible options for access.

“Reconfiguring old ways of thinking is a challenge we will take on together.”

Who benefits from the new digital workplace?

Robert Wähnke: Regardless of whether they are administrative staff, field staff or colleagues managing production, the digital workplace should have a positive impact on the work of every colleague. Today, more than half of our workforce already uses ITsupported functions. They should benefit from the improvements. As technology develops, fewer and fewer workplaces will be able to manage without the support of IT in the future.

Are there other advantages beyond making work easier?

Robert Wähnke: Modern communication tools also help reduce the number of business trips that are needed, something the pandemic really highlighted. That is also a real help in terms of reducing our carbon footprint. In addition to the advantages of access independently of location, the new workplace also allows people to use more advanced technology, such as automated applications for example, that reduce an employee’s number of tasks. However, some employees also have reservations, and are fearful.

Robert Wähnke, Head of IT Service Operations, DMK.

How do you respond to their fears and reservations?

Florian Schomaker: Alongside having to get used to a changed IT environment, our colleagues are also concerned about whether there is a growing overlap between their work and their personal lives. DMK has to create an atmosphere that is conducive to performance, supporting individual employees without overburdening them. Even if colleagues can work at any time from any place, it’s important to have a good work-life balance, especially given all the challenges due to the pandemic. Employees have to balance home schooling, childcare and work, among other things, all under one roof.

“More than half of our workforce is already using IT-supported functions.”

How do you deal with these employees?

Florian Schomaker: It’s human nature to be skeptical of change at first. Reconfiguring the way we have learned to think and work is a challenge that we will take on together. Alongside a comprehensive training program, we are training more than 100 colleagues to be experts – called key users who will provide advice and support to their colleagues in their day-to-day work. From my point of view, it is also important to show employees and managers the advantages and benefits of this new way of working, and how it simplifies things. We help by running a range of events online before and during the introduction process. So I am sure that this new way of working will be a success at DMK.