Ms. Moldovan, what do you associate with modern working?
Oana Moldovan: I perceive modern working as a blend of equipment, technology, a mobile environment and culture. Compared with how I used to work – so eight hours a day tied to a single computer – everything you connect with a modern workplace is now better suited to my personal needs. It gives me the freedom to work anywhere I like and with any device I choose. I can even use personal devices to access my data, presentations, notes and other things. My position as technology consultant means I spend a lot of the time on the move. That’s why I want to be able to access my data and take part in telephone conferences wherever I happen to be. I am no longer dependent on particular devices, places or times, so I can work far more creatively and receive completely different input and ideas for my work.
Mr. Ullmann, what did your workplace used to look like, and what are the biggest changes compared to then?
Thino Ullmann: Looking back I find it hard to imagine how I was even able to work and travel the way I did. I was kitted out with two IBM Lenovo Thinkpads, one of which was for customer demonstrations. That meant that the laptops and accessories alone weighed 5.6 kg, while my Nokia 3310 was a real lightweight with its roughly 110 grams. Not to mention all the documents I carried around: Brochures, customer folders and the good old notebook to jot things down. The office, or let’s say my workplace, was the hub of communication with my colleagues, but also the place where all these folders and brochures were kept.
Just glancing round the office today, I have to agree that “work is not a place”. Instead of two laptops I now use a Surface Pro; I’ve virtualized my demo environment and migrated it to the cloud, and even the heavyweight folders to show my customers are now digitized. Only my “notebook” is now a little heavier, as I’ve swapped it for a tablet with stylus function. In return, I no longer need to spend hours typing up notes when I’ve reached the end of yet another pad. We all know that nothing is as constant as change, so the switch to my current “workplace scenario” was incremental – and I made sure it happened. As a technology consultant, I naturally realized early on that I would benefit from the added value. It took some time until I had adjusted and optimized my workflows and tools so that I benefited from the advantages as much as possible instead of them getting in the way as they did initially. Now I can work wherever I like and have access to all the information I need, and my bags weigh in at just 1.8 kg.
So is it enough just to switch devices?
Thino Ullmann: No. Ultimately it was only possible because the whole way in which employees are managed – namely by trust and defined targets – has changed. After all, I no longer really have a traditional workplace. I’m glad I can still go to the office, as there is “thankfully” no alternative to meeting in person, even though we conduct many of our meetings online. I am itching to find out what the future will bring as well. Maybe my bag will be replaced with VR equipment and my “workplace” will become 100% virtualized.