S1B2: New Work Harbour

Last week, on the day of my birthday, we went back to the office. After more than 1,5 years of working from home, without seeing most of my colleagues face to face, this was huge.

⛴ Our new office, the “New Work Harbour.” is described as one of Germanys most interesting places to work at and I couldn’t agree more. Overseeing ships cruising through the Hamburg harbour, it’s fabulously designed, featuring a variety of spaces that invite to collaborate and have fun. We have a band room, gym, pub, library, fire place and family rooms. A canteen that grows it’s own herbs inside the building, sports classes every day and even a very good barista coffee bar. There are so many spaces designed specifically for collaboration that I really really really want to have as many workshops as possible in the future.

It’s the office from the future.

🤝 Going back to the office also means seeing people again. In any kind of organisation, humans and their connections are the most important thing. And that connection really took a hit during the pandemic. While the bond within our team, grew even stronger, the whole company suffered. When you don’t see the human side, it’s so easy to dismiss others and judge them. Especially our leadership team had a very hard time. Even though they made plenty of mistakes, they are fighting for the same mission as every one else at New Work. And as every human, they make mistakes too. And they will learn from it and do it better next time. It’s difficult to see that with distance. It’s easy to see that with proximity.

🙌 That’s why I’m a big fan of our Mobile50 policy. We ask everyone to work at least 50% of the time from the office and the rest can be used working from home. It’s not controlled, checked or tracked. It’s a trust-based ask. Because we believe that our great company culture is part of our way of new work. And our culture consists of shared experiences, putting post-its on the wall, having kitchen chats, partying until the sun sets and last but not least to conquer obstacles together, as a team. How can this ever be done in a sustainable way if everyone sits in front of their screens? How will a new starter ever get to really know her colleagues? How will we ever trully celebrate our wins and learn from our failure if we don’t even see each other?

👏 Imagine if you are alone in a room, clapping by yourselves. Feels wrong, doesn’t it? In our monthly Cluster review this Monday, we clapped after every presentation. And we enjoyed it so much! Because we were a group of people in the same room. Such a good feeling.

Follow the sign to find Growth

🚴‍♂️ Of course there will be challenges. My legs still hurt from cycling an hour to the office and then back for an hour. This means 2 additional hours that I have to find in a day. But also, 2 additional hours I spend outside, exercising on my bike.

I didn’t even know I can cycle at 45 km/h!

My new hybrid working week will look something like this:

  • 🏢 Monday: Wake-up before anyone else to get some work done, bring kids to Kindergarten, cycle to work, shower and change, meet the team (Monday is our office day when most of the team will be present), collaborate on challenges as much as possible, meet people, share coffees, change, cycle back home.

  • 🏡 Tuesday: Wake-up before anyone else to get some work done, then bring kids to Kindergarten, then working from home - Focus Mode with a few meetings like planning sessions.

  • 🏢/🏡 Wednesday: Wake-up before anyone else to get some work done, then bring kids to Kindergarten, then sometimes working from home for focus work, sometimes going to the office for more collaboration work.

  • 🏡 Thursday: Wake-up before anyone else to get some work done, then working from home - Focus Mode. I try to have no meetings on Thursdays except for the team standup and our Leadership Team weekly.

  • 🏢 Friday: Wake-up before anyone else, then be at the office before 7 a.m., exercise at the gym, shower and change, followed by a mix of meetings and using the various spaces at the office for some inspired, creative work. Fridays are my favorite office days. Because the weekend is near, people are less stressed and therefore I can get more done than on any other days.

I’m already looking forward to Monday.

🏈 NFL Update: In Week 2, the 49ers beat the Eagles and Dallas defeated the Chargers in a very close game. So far, so good.

Nils Neubauer @nilsneubauer