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The mindset is crucial

Trust and responsibility are the superpowers of today’s world of work

We made an appointment to talk online via Teams with four colleagues from Austrian Airlines on the topic of the new working. We’re talking to Michaela Gruber, Key Account Manager Leisure Sales and Austrian Airlines HR employees Oliver Vogl, Sebastian Hopf, and Herbert Partl about workation, organizational change, and the principles of new working, both in general and at Austrian Airlines. It’s a topic that’s important to all four for various reasons.

As with almost all companies, murmurs went round the Austrian Airlines offices when it was announced: from now on please work from home. The Austrian airline in the Lufthansa Group was already well prepared for remote working—mobile workplaces, a shared desk concept and a stable, flawless VPN made this step less complicated. Subsequently, the topic of workation was also launched in 2021. “Employees at Austrian Airlines can work from other European countries for up to 30 days,” explains Sebastian Hopf. “And the opportunities were well received. In addition, in the course of the back-to-the-office discussion, it became clearer that remote working will become the norm wherever possible and that we saw no way back to fixed hours at a fixed desk in the office.” “I don’t need a fixed desk in the office with a plant and picture,” adds Michaela Gruber. “But what we do need is the mindset to work remotely—and the trust of managers and the team.” Mutual understanding between different areas of the company is also important, after all not all colleagues at Austrian Airlines can work from home or go on workation. In many areas, an employee’s attendance on site, at the service desk, on board, or in the hangars is crucial.

At Austrian Airlines, it’s all the more important that the mindset exists, and the digital requirements too. And in many areas the pandemic has been able to dispel prejudices against home offices and remote working. “You need everyone involved to trust that the collaboration will work. That personal responsibility exists—whether you’re sitting in the park or on the beach, on a city trip or in the mountains—and that the team also sees it that way. It’s normal working hours, just in a different place,” explains Sebastian Hopf. “In our team,” says Michaela Gruber, “that was never an issue. Wherever I was, my colleagues always knew that they could reach me and could rely on me. But as I said, the mindset is incredibly important. Sometimes you have to relegate your own interests behind those of the job,” says Michaela Gruber, describing a trip to Namibia that was canceled because a reliable internet connection could not be guaranteed.

Being reachable while on workation and the working requirements are important issues for everyone. The conditions demanded by Austrian Airlines side are very good. “If there are problems in these areas, it’s usually local factors,” says Oliver Vogl. “It’s not always just about internet reception. The location where you’re working must be acceptable. Many large hotels still have some catching up to do. The Wi-Fi in the lobby may be good, but the nearest wall socket is hidden away. Knowing all the circumstances in advance and responding to them is a basic requirement. If I know I have an appointment on a specific date, it’s my responsibility to make sure everything goes smoothly. And if necessary, I’ll be in the office to guarantee that. This way of thinking is also part of the mindset that we always like to talk about.”

“In any event, opportunities for workation are a somewhat secondary issue in job interviews today,” Herbert Pratl adds an insight into the recruitment process. “Hybrid working and the home office still play a major role for all applicants. Remote working is now a must for modern employer branding.” Remote working as part of a lifestyle is also the case with Sebastian Hopf. “Having these opportunities today, being flexible on the move and able to work remotely, affects me and my lifestyle. It’s now my way of life—and not just mine. It’s going down well and is well received.”

In cases where the job description allows, Michaela Gruber, Oliver Vogl, Sebastian Hopf, and Herbert Pratl see Austrian Airlines as well positioned when it comes to the topics of new work and workation. “We are part of an international group,” Michaela Gruber concludes, “with employees from and based in almost every country in the world. These are the perfect conditions. And here, at Austrian Airlines, I can see that my colleagues also have the right mindset to make ideal use of these conditions for themselves and for the company.”

Many thanks to our colleagues at Austrian Airlines in Vienna for this fascinating conversation.

With its network of 130 global destinations and 14.7 million passengers every year, Austrian Airlines is Austria’s largest airline. It is based at Vienna Airport and operates a route network focusing on Central and Eastern Europe.

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