HDI formalises home working for ‘new normal’ post-pandemic

Hannover-based insurance group HDI has today announced binding regulations on working in the ‘new normal’, which will enable staff to work from home for 60% of their working time if desired.

The new arrangements have been agreed with the HDI group work council, whose chairman said they came about following “tough negotiations” that led to a good compromise for staff and the company.

The insurer said that the “far-reaching and flexible” new work models should apply after the end of the pandemic. It said the focus is on regulations for the design of mobile working, technical equipment, the future office world and health issues.

HDI Group employees in Germany will in future be able to choose freely whether they want to work remotely. “This is possible on up to 60% of the working days in the calendar quarter, in coordination with the manager,” stated the group.

To help facilitate the new way of working, technical equipment will be completely converted to notebooks and the days of having fixed desks and offices appear to be numbered.

“With so-called ‘dynamic spaces’, the HDI Group creates attractive spaces for collaborative work throughout Germany. The desk-sharing principle applies, in which employees choose their workplace anew every day. Hybrid collaboration is supported by meeting areas with modern meeting technology. The employees actively participate in the design of the areas. The pilot location for the dynamic spaces is the location in Hilden,” explained the insurer.

One of the obvious problems with home working is that it can become difficult to switch off and many actually end up working much longer hours when based from home. HDI recognises this.

It said that regular dialogue between employees and managers will be important to prevent the risk of professional and private life becoming “delimited”. Managers are being trained regularly and a wide range of further training courses for mindful “new work” are also now available to all employees.

“With this overall package, we have found a very good joint response to our work in the new normal after the pandemic. For the time after the state of emergency caused by the pandemic, it was important to us to combine the demands of our customers and our employees as flexibly as possible. We managed to do that very well with this model,” said Torsten Leue, CEO of HDI’s parent, the Talanx Group.

“Hybrid work, collaboration, transparency and commitment will consistently determine our cooperation and our culture,” added Mr Leue.

Jens Warkentin, chief human resources officer for the HDI Group in Germany, added: “For the HDI Group, it is important that we have the opportunity to work out creative and effective solutions together in the office. We want to keep our employees together, as an attractive employer and as a community. The teams should remain real teams that enjoy working together and have fun. Therefore, employees and executives can flexibly balance out how the proportions of office hours and mobile working are ideally distributed within the framework of the model.”

The chairman of the group works council, Ralf Rieger, said: “The present agreements represent a balanced compromise because, as the result of tough negotiations, they bring together two opposing starting positions. On the one hand, there are colleagues who want flexibility, self-determination of the place of work and the best possible equipment. On the other hand, there is the employer with the demand for disposition sovereignty and control, as well as the fear of additional costs.”

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