Self-determined and free work – that’s what New Work promises. But only as long as you use the right technologies and tools. What these tools should and how they will change in the future – this is the topic of Christoph Magnussen’s work. LEAD met with the expert on digital transformation for a cup of ginger tea and talked about e-mail, smartphones and AI in the German start-up Mecca Berlin Kreuzberg.
It is one of those warm days in Kreuzberg where it’s hard to find a free spot in front of one of the many cafes. Because, who can take the liberty escapes from the office in the sun. One of those who drives this autonomy and self-determination in the profession is Christoph Magnussen. The start-up and business consultant from Hamburg has just received a recording session for the podcast “On the Way to New Work” from a Berlin studio. In this series, he and Michael Trautmann discuss the possibilities of new tools and methods for changing work. Now he sits in the late afternoon sun in front of the Görlitzer Park, drinks ginger tea and checks messages on his smartphone.
“My core driver in everything I do is freedom,” says the 37-year-old man, who himself comes from a performance-oriented corporate budget, and sets the phone aside. “Many people in New Work just think you can do remote work and work from anywhere – like here in the sun,” says Magnussen. “But that’s exactly what you have to do with a lot of discipline, responsibility and respect towards others.”
Because one can not take liberties out of oneself, if one again cuts others in their freedom. Creating a new, free world of work requires not only respect and fairness, but also the right tools: “For me, new work is the confluence of technology that enables us to work freely, the technology and the responsibility, with it neither limiting myself nor others – that’s New Work for me. ”
Always a new worker
Even before graduating, Christoph Magnussen independently organized parties. Immediately after studying business administration in St. Gallen, he set up a re-commerce start-up in addition to a social media agency, which moved from one million to 31 million in less than five years Euro sales has grown. To grow the business faster, his focus was on increasing employee productivity with online collaboration tools rather than just hiring more people.
The new digital setup meant that more and more friendly founders contacted him in order to set up something similar in their companies. “And that’s how the idea for my company Blackboat came about,” he explains. It is a consulting company with technology and cloud focus, which helps not only to implement the digital transformation and to increase the efficiency in the company sustainable, but also to make the self-determined work possible.
And the digital transformation is far from reaching its goal, the future has just begun: “Collaborative technologies and tools like the cloud will allow us to do work even more efficiently in the future and not have to be online 24/7 anymore Technology will integrate more seamlessly into our daily lives, “says the native of Kiel. One could imagine this as a ride on the elevator to the office. This has long been seamlessly integrated into the way to the office: “We use the elevator intuitively and do not think about how it works, as it will be with many new technologies.”
Read more about New Work in the latest edition of LEAD magazine 01/19, which you can also order online.
With the help of digital tools, it will be possible to massively increase added value in the future, he says. Especially in the field of communication, a lot will happen. The e-mail is a relic of old time (“Old Work”) – much too complicated and slow is the process of sending: “Since you have to first insert a subject, find the right salutation, then the footer and so on That costs all the time. ”
The purring of his smartphone makes him pause for a moment, a message from an employee from Hamburg: “Such a WhatsApp message like this one is sent much faster and the communication in group agitation is also transparent – exactly what the e-mail is unfortunately often not is. ” In addition to high speed, transparency is an important requirement that New Work Tools should fulfill: “If you work on the same project in the same company, you should always be on the same level, which can only be achieved with transparency, because in the best case you can work towards the same goal. ”
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Work-life-blending is the keyword
Incidentally, he has answered his colleague in the chat with an emoji, he says. The pictograms and ideograms or even gifs are a normal way of communication in his company Blackboat: “These things or even short videos make chats much more human and pleasant.”
While e-mail is still the means of communication of choice in a job, one would usually be available privately on several channels at any time: “This will soon find its way into everyday working life, but must be actively controlled by ourselves.”
If, in the future, we will be able to be reached on a variety of channels at any time in the future, is that the end of the work-life balance before it even really started?
“We have to fight for our freedom today.”
“Work-life-blending is the keyword here,” says Magnussen. Already today this is an issue, because many people would identify so much with their work, that they consciously incorporate it into their old days. “The only important thing here is that we control the development ourselves and that this process is not forced upon us by another”, explains the expert for digital work-life-blending and the danger. “We just have to fight for our freedom today.”
Blending instead of balance, but how do I know if I still manage the development myself or only respond to requests or expectations from outside? The creative entrepreneur recommends a simple experiment: “Imagine switching off all the notifications on your digital devices for two days – be honest with yourself – and if temporary deactivation seems impossible to you, then you have a problem.”
AI is only a tool
Again vibrates his mobile phone – it shows Magnussen that he has to leave soon to the train station to catch his train from Berlin to Hamburg. “The smartphone is my most important tool,” says the entrepreneur. You can not only communicate with it, but also produce high-quality videos or podcasts quickly and easily from anywhere, have access to its archives and projects, and all apps are just a touch away.
Pretty smart, but it will be much wiser in the future. For artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly relevant, in the labor market, it is sometimes even feared. “Artificial intelligence is also just a tool that will expand our capabilities – even more radically than the smartphone did over the past decade,” says Magnussen. At the moment, the topic of AI is as far as the Internet was in the mid-90s, he says. What could be changed by the use of advanced artificial intelligence, one could not even imagine today. “But I believe that the AI continues to be used in the background and that many evolutionary steps are relatively unnoticed, but it is certain that every aspect of our lives will be somehow influenced by AI.”
“If AI expands people’s capabilities, that’s the perfect form of digitization.”
But you do not have to worry because “did you have to be afraid of the computer or your smartphone?” He asks. “However, it is absolutely necessary that we look to the future with optimism and try to identify changes in advance and act accordingly.”
Christoph Magnussen paid cash, by card or app that is not possible in this small cafe. Then he speaks a note into his smartphone and puts it in his pocket. “The very simple speech-to-text application built into every smartphone alone is a perfect AI application that works only by humans,” he says, not only saving a great deal of time, but even enabling it People who can not type in writing communicate. “When AI expands people’s capabilities and makes life easier for them, it’s the perfect form of digitization.”
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Digital expert Christoph Magnussen reveals five tips on how to make your office fit for digital transformation.
1. Smartphone Only
The smartest digital tool for Christoph Magnussen is the smartphone: “If I can do all my work on a device, I can concentrate on my actual tasks – how to lead teams or to develop creative ideas.” In order for the tool to be used optimally, the right apps are required. “Once installed, I can easily work from anywhere and see the world as my clients or partners experience it daily.”
2. Use group communication tools
WhatsApp Groups, Slack, Microsoft Teams – these channels of communication help to digitize the work: “When we have the ability to communicate simply and transparently, it makes us a lot faster,” says Magnussen. Feed communication is a highly underrated tool for bringing groups, project teams or freelancers together digitally and anywhere.
3. Off to the cloud
“We need to learn to move away from local storage, and there’s no reason to store my data locally and run the risk of losing it,” says Magnussen. In any case, cloud storage is better and safer. To do this, the digital expert recommends tools like O365 and G Suite that allow one to work collaboratively with other collaborators.
4. Cloud Collaboration
No longer need separate versions of the same document: Tools like O365 and G Suite make it easy to work with multiple people on one document at the same time. You would never have to download or upload anything, or email back and forth, and all the things that would have caused friction and disrupted the flow of work were gone, says Magnussen. “I do not just work digitally, I work smarter, more collaborative and faster than ever.”
5. Question your own attitude
Digital work and, above all, digital collaboration, just like New Work, is a question of attitude. They are dealing with technologies that help to make work more efficient and better. “I have to be prepared to embrace change and not continue to live the same kind of work as a horse with blinkers,” explains the management consultant. “But that also means analyzing technologies and methods objectively and not chasing every new trend.”
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