Wintershall Dea will establish mobile working as 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, Europe’s leading independent gas and oil producer. “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.”
The underlying idea of the global Flex Forward concept is that every team in the company defines 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.
The concept envisages offering all employees flexible ways of working. However, 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. “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,” states Mario Mehren, adding that Flex Forward is not only about where employees work – the way they work together will also change.
“We have practised 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. It goes without saying that this will include observing the rights of employee representatives and the law of the various countries.
Flex Forward was initiated and developed by an interdisciplinary working group made up of international employees. They formulated guiding principles and ideas on the subject of “Future Ways of Working” on behalf of the global Wintershall Dea COVID-19 Crisis Team. “At its first meetings, the working party practised what will shape our work even more strongly moving ahead: virtual collaboration in self-organised, interdisciplinary teams,” says Petra Angstmann, Senior Vice President Human Resources at Wintershall Dea.
“Our corporate culture and values are the foundation for Flex Forward. Mutual trust, cooperation, openness and responsibility for your own tasks are key aspects of the model,” explains Petra Angstmann. “Our colleagues appreciate the greater flexibility.”