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Home office: municipalities are upgrading
Working more from home - all administrations already allow their employees to do this. How much can be done from home, however, depends heavily on the tasks of the employees and the technical conditions - and so far probably also on how the supervisor generally views mobile work. To what extent are municipalities able to implement the new home office regulations in the Corona crisis? The echo is very different.
The city of Nuremberg sees itself well positioned with home office
“We have currently set up 4,020 home office spaces for administrative staff. That is about 57 percent of the estimated potential of 7,000 places, "said the spokesman for the Nuremberg city administration, Andreas Franke, at the request of KOMMUNAL. The city would be technically able to let even more employees work at home - and react accordingly calmly Franconian small town and home of Prime Minister Markus Söder on the decision of the government, which came about on the basis of the decision of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country leaders and still leaves a lot of leeway.
But how is the administrative capacity to be maintained when more employees are switching to the home office? In Nuremberg they rely on the combination of normal office and counter operations with mask and distance requirements, appointment allocation, visitor control and Plexiglas panes, home office and shift work. "We have found a good mix with which we can maintain our performance for the citizens", emphasized the spokesman for the city administration.
The new occupational health and safety ordinance also prescribes protective measures for those employees whose presence in the company is essential. For example, employers must provide medical face masks or FFP2 masks for work in the company if the requirements for rooms or distance cannot be met for certain reasons.
Reserve laptops are now being used
Leo Wächter, Mayor of the Verbandsgemeinde Bernkastel-Kues in Rhineland-Palatinate, has been trying to avoid double occupations in offices since the beginning of the pandemic and now wants to make greater use of the reserve laptops. "Of course we also have to be there as a point of contact for the citizens, so personal contact is still required at the citizens' office or in the registry office," said Wächter. "There are also older citizens in our community who do not want to access services over the Internet."
Protective measures in the workplace against corona
"I think it is right that home office is not regulated in a mandatory manner," says the Lord Mayor of Karlsruhe, Frank Mentrup. In the first lockdown, between 30 and 50 percent of the employees at the city administration were working from home. "That required a lot more coordination," he concluded. The best possible protective measures at the workplace are important. "We have strict hygiene rules and a stricter mask requirement than outside," he said. According to Mentrup, few corona infections have been found among the 6,000 employees so far, and the quarantine rules have then been strictly adhered to.
Potsdam: Mobile working through remote access
"Due to the pandemic situation, a large part of the employees in the state capital Potsdam is currently working mobile", reports Dieter Jetschmanegg, Head of the Central Administration division. The Brandenburg state capital Potsdam has made mobile work much easier for its employees since the middle of December last year, as it announced. With what is known as remote access, employees can have an encrypted connection from their own home PC to their computer in the administration and thus also to the IT services, applications and data of the city administration. "This means that mobile work is also possible without having to purchase additional laptops nothing more in the way ", says Dieter Jetschmanegg. With the process, for example, all work folders, files, specialist applications or e-mails can be accessed from home via a private PC." The process runs technically smoothly. "
A steep learning curve when it comes to working from home
"When it comes to working from home, cities have had a steep learning curve behind them," emphasizes Helmut Dedy, General Manager of the German Association of Cities. At the beginning of the pandemic, devices were procured and digital access set up in a very short time.
In view of the pandemic, Burkhard Jung, President of the City Council, asked the Funke media group: "The cities must act as role models when working from home in order to reduce personal encounters even more."
Wuppertal: Over half of the administration in the home office
In Wuppertal (North Rhine-Westphalia), over 50 percent of the entire administration is currently in the home office or works on the move. "The city administration has more than 1630 home offices, and 1466 mobile work opportunities were added during the corona pandemic," said city spokesman Thomas Eiting. to COMMUNAL.
Falkensee: Employees in core administration work 80 percent mobile
Heiko Müller, Mayor of the small town of Falkensee near Berlin, says he makes it possible for every employee in the core administration to work on the move. "At the moment, 80 percent of our employees work from outside and 20 percent are on-site." His experience: The necessary coordination only works if employees are present at least temporarily. "Anyone who thinks that everything can be done online is wrong," says Müller. Coordination with the staff council was currently in progress on securing home office or mobile working. The performance of the administration is significantly burdened by home office, says Müller. Much more complicated to regulate, not all processes can be implemented digitally. Data protection must also be ensured. The mayor believes that a legal right to home office in business and administration, for which Labor Minister Hubert Heil is promoting, is wrong.
Local mayor sees home office critically
A local mayor of a 1200-strong community in Rhineland-Palatinate sees it even more drastically. In a letter to the editor to KOMMUNAL, he describes how much he sees public administration impaired by home office. "During my sporadic visits to the association community, I come across more locked doors than ever before," he reports. When you call you get the information that you are in the home office and cannot access the process because you are in the office - Advice. Electronic and written support is no substitute for personal support.
Lack of technical access the main problem
So far, home office has generally not been possible in every second municipality, and only for a few employees in 20 percent of the municipalities. However, this was only revealed by a survey of 600 mayors and those responsible for digitization. The digital association Bitkom and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB) commissioned the survey. Mostly this is due to the technical access. Inadequate IT is one of the biggest obstacles when working from home. 40 percent of those questioned stated that the lack of technical equipment was the decisive factor. Another 24 percent pointed out that there were insufficient funds for necessary investments.
Home office and mobile working - the difference
What is usually not differentiated: Home office means a fixed teleworking place within your own four walls. The employer provides the office equipment or special work equipment such as a computer and even the furniture. The employer is obliged to check whether the home office complies with industrial safety regulations. Mobile working, on the other hand, only means that tasks are performed outside of the workplace using mobile devices such as smartphones and laptops. In contrast to the teleworking station in the home office, which specifies the place of work, with mobile working it is up to the employees whether they are sitting on the train or perhaps also in the café. The Federal Government Ordinance, which is currently in force, does not differentiate between the two variants. It only speaks of home office.
You can find questions and answers about the home office regulation on the homepage of the Federal Ministry of Labor.
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