12.10.2021 Article

Paulig has defined a new hybrid work philosophy and ground rules to guide practices when it comes to deciding whether to work remotely or come in the office. It is a philosophy instead of fixed policies and practices because situations and needs are different from location to location, team to team and individual to individual. The idea is to allow flexibility to the teams to decide how to carry out the philosophy in practice today – and make changes as needed in the future.

One of Paulig’s values is “Stay Curious”, which also encompasses an entrepreneurial spirit and courage to challenge; seek new answers. Accordingly, Paulig has established a new hybrid work philosophy concerning everyone at Paulig whose job can involve remote work, once again steering the company to be a frontrunner when it comes to change.

SVP HR Anu Pires highlights that it is indeed a philosophy – a guideline – instead of a set of fixed policies or practices. The practical details of the execution will be left to every manager to decide together with their team.

“We decided on this approach because we trust our people. They did a great job working fully remotely, so we are confident they will continue to do so within the hybrid model,” she describes.

Flexibility and adaptability are key

Prior to defining the philosophy, Paulig conducted an employee survey to find out their preferences. According to the survey, the majority (88%) of the respondents would like to continue remote work after the pandemic but not all the time. Most of the respondents (79%) would like to work remotely two or three days a week.

Besides trust, the other two key elements of the philosophy are business accountability and work-life balance.

“Business comes first,” Pires says.

“When we are choosing where to work, we must evaluate and plan which meetings or tasks are best suited for the office. When working at the office, we will try to take full advantage of in-person collaboration. After all, that’s where the magic happens – although video calls are great, you still undeniably lose something compared to meeting face to face.”

The transfer to remote work was so swift and many have been working remotely for so long, that some of these benefits may have been momentarily forgotten.

“Particularly, for example, spontaneous conversations and ideas springing from them only take place when people are in the same place. It is also better to discuss difficult matters in person, and also – most of us do benefit from the structure and social aspects working in the office gives us,” Pires says.

She also highlights that flexibility and adaptability are key in the long term: situations may change at individual level, team level, company level and even globally.

“This is why I hope that rather than settling into fixed schedules such as in the office two days a week and working from home three days a week, the teams would identify ways of working that adapt to the current needs and can be revisited as the situation changes,” she summarises.