The current understanding of digitization encompasses more than the vision of a fully automated and technology-oriented development of the German corporate landscape. This guiding vision undoubtedly creates complexity in the implementation of such projects, because digitization is more than just working with an Internet connection. Rather, digitization is changing our entire working world at a rapid and unstoppable speed. It is evident that hierarchical organizations with supervisory bodies and managers are increasingly giving way to networked and project-oriented companies that are optimized for speed and innovation. Plan orientation, long-term thinking and homogeneous teams are a thing of the past, because methods such as Scrum and Co make our working world heterogeneous, fast and flexible.

What is digital self-organization?

A look into practice shows that digitality is increasingly leading to a traditional understanding of hierarchical organizational structures changing and legitimizing power being weakened or even reversed (cf.Signhardt). Examples, the CMS system WordPress was developed on a project basis. There are no offices, no fixed working hours and internal communication takes place via the company’s own chat system and blogs. Every single developer was self-organized. Even in traditional companies, projects are increasingly being supported by tools and teams are increasingly distributed. Even if an employee works from home.
The controllability and control is on the one hand increasingly difficult for the management and on the other hand must be replaced by self-organization and trust. Information can be distributed in real time and every employee can communicate with anyone regardless of time and place. So many interactions happen in this virtual space that a single manager can no longer record them or evaluate the amount of data and interactions. This status can also be out of date by the time it is evaluated. Another consequence of acceleration is that tasks increase rapidly. You can see this on Jira boards with more than 600 open tasks and overflowing lists of open points.
But the need for self-organization is also increasing for employees. Employees have to organize themselves better, especially in work that is flexible in terms of location and time. If a manager used to control everything, an employee now has to organize himself in a so-called virtual room.

digitale selbstorganisation
Especially in the home office you work in a virtual room (inspired by Zeuchhardt)

Digital self-organization for mobile work and home office

Home office is the dream of many employees and promises maximum flexibility in work and saves the commute. But especially the daily work in the home office takes place in a virtual room already shown in the figure.
That’s what it says Magazine CIO : However, mobile work models require more organization. Company agreements define the legal framework. This ranges from equipping the home office to billing the heating costs for the home office. Information events and clear agreements at the beginning of the project also help employees to discuss doubts and concerns with their superiors. Finally, many agreements also include how employees can record their working hours and how they deal with the subject data protection bypass.
Furthermore, it is not possible, as usual, to simply go to colleagues and coordinate. In the home office you always use e-mails, web meetings and Skype. You always have to look at information, tasks and contact people to organize. It is also up to the employee to set up the workplace. What many often do not consider: Your own person can also become a source of interference if there is a lack of self-discipline. On the one hand you have to be productive and on the other hand you have to not forget the work-life balance.

Digital self-organization in new office concepts

Many companies copy this coffee house atmosphere and transfer it into modern working environments by creating meeting spaces that are intended to encourage lively dialogue and informal exchange among employees. Of course, not without entrepreneurial considerations. From a strategic point of view, such an investment pursues the goal of increasing employee motivation and generating willingness to change. Initiative, innovative thinking and self-organization should be encouraged for the benefit of added value and corporate development (Source Product manager blog ).
You can already see in this quote: Self-organization and initiative are the focus. With Flexdesk concepts, employees increasingly have to look for desks themselves and decide in which part of the building where and how they work. highly concentrated, group meeting, … you are always on the move. Every day requires a lot of organization and the hourly look at the calendar is necessary to get from A to B on time. Is the colleague in the home office, do I need a meeting room or a web session, do I want to concentrate on my work today, should I book a beanbag in the open space? All of this is up to you!
Reading tip: Konstruhardt: Success factor performance management


Home office, mobile work and new office complexes create digital spaces in which a higher level of self-organization is necessary. This has numerous opportunities but also demands more of the employee and is examined under the term digital self-organization. How are you doing, tell me in the little survey!
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Image: Created by Nensuria –

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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