German oil and gas company Wintershall DEA said Thursday it would establish mobile and flexible working as a standard practice even after the pandemic.
“We aim to achieve a mix, a hybrid working model, for when the pandemic is over. We call it Flex Forward at Wintershall Dea,” says Mario Mehren, CEO of Wintershall Dea, a company with oil and gas assets in 13 countries spread across Europe, Russia, Latin America, and the MENA region.
Under the Flex Forward program concept, every team in the company would define two core working days on which all its members work at the office.
“That time should mainly be used for collaboration and dialogue. Every team member is then to decide largely on their own where they work on the three flexible days – at the office, from home or elsewhere,” Wintershall DEA, which employs 2,800 people worldwide, said.
“Our team has proven over the past months that we can work together extremely efficiently and effectively over digital channels. All of us here have taken one big step forward together. And we have shown that we can be flexible. If we also strengthen our direct personal contact and cooperation – but, of course, only when that’s possible depending on the spread of infection in the various countries – I am sure we will work together even more efficiently and effectively,” Mehren said.
While the concept envisages offering all employees flexible ways of working, the extent of the flexibility they can have depends greatly on their task and individual activity.
“Such an arrangement must be implemented differently for employees who work at technical facilities in the field than, for example, for office jobs,” the company said.
“But we are open: all ideas on implementing the concept are welcome. We have learned in the past months that far more is possible than we originally thought,” said Mehren, adding that Flex Forward is not only about where employees work – the way they work together will also change.
“We have practiced mobile working at Wintershall Dea for quite some time. We rolled out various applications to make virtual working far easier, especially after the merger between Wintershall and DEA in May 2019. We’re now going a step further,” says Mehren.
Wintershall said it the model would include observing the rights of employee representatives and the law of the various countries.
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