The “flexible office” is probably one of the things that has changed the workplace the most in a special year 2020. At TUI, too, most teams have been working since March predominantly not in their offices – but at kitchen tables, on the couch or at their home office, in their own four walls or while staying with friends or parents.
The fact that TUI was able to switch quickly and without complications from office work to “flexible office” in March has mainly to do with the introduction of MS Teams and Office 365 in 2019. By March 2020, the tools had been rolled out across most of the business and teams were already using it or parts of it. HR Teams ensured with an extensive support programme that teammates were available to answer open questions and that there was a continuous exchange of knowledge and experience. So when it was announced in March 2020 that work was to be moved to the home office, it meant almost from one day to the next: Picking up a laptop, dialling into the home WLAN and getting started.
Corona was the definitive stress test for the flexible office. The fact that TUI passed this test so well is also due to the colleagues in the IT teams who worked in the background to ensure that the technology ran smoothly! At the end of the year, we asked Michael Ohm, who is responsible for Colleague Computing, how the Flexible Office has affected the use of MS Teams throughout TUI. And the figures are impressive:
- Before Corona, the average number of calls/video conferences with MS Teams was around 5000 per day. After the offices were closed, the number jumped to 18,000 per day, and when business resumed at least partially in the summer, the number even rose to 20,000 calls/video conferences per day. These high numbers can also be seen at the end of the year.
- The figures for chat messages are also impressive. Here, too, it is very clear when the laptops were opened in the home office. From mid-March, the number of chat messages increased by leaps and bounds. At its peak, 350,000 messages were sent daily by colleagues. Before this surge, there were about 150,000 messages per day. And even though 350,000 messages per day were no longer sent over the summer and by the end of the year, it is clear that the service is still being used gladly and intensively by colleagues. More than 250,000 messages are still sent daily from Monday to Friday, significantly more than before Corona.