Our department has been on short-time working for two weeks now. Contrary to my fears, I have not suffered any depressions, but have gained new insights. Some of them I would like to share with you here.

The impact

A tone sounds – I remember exactly: When the e-mail tone “ping” on Monday, 30 March at 5 pm, I was excited. Finally clarity about the already announced short-time work, then the shock: Wow – right up to June 30, for some even up to September. A hole opens up. It was already apparent that we could expect it, but at that moment I had to swallow.

The day after

The morning check-in with the colleagues was scheduled for 31 March: How are we doing now? From scepticism to frustration, everything was noticeable. Ideas, projects, initiatives, contributions – from now on, shut down, pause. Dark thoughts also rose: What if things get worse? First short-time work, then unemployed? The fact that short-time work also means less money was not the main topic. Various aspects were in conflict. In the end it was clear: We take it as it is. It’s great that we at TÜV Rheinland have the opportunity to manage this bizarre situation. It’s hard that we can’t contribute to it in the usual way.

Bye – see you soon

In the evening another Skype call. The last one for quite a while. No videos. Just the voices of colleagues. We did the processing, synchronized the absence messages, tinkered with the handovers – a strange feeling of forced pause. Where do I put my thoughts on the challenges for TÜV Rheinland during the day, but also in my free time? How do you communicate and exchange ideas with colleagues? First ideas emerge: further education, work up, write articles, plan something for the time of the new start.

Crisis as an opportunity

After the first few weeks of short work, I will review some ideas. A colleague from Japan asked: What can we as TÜV Rheinland contribute to solving the crisis? We thought about what a virtual TÜV Ideas Hackathon could look like. We introduced the digital collaboration tool nexboard to our innovation colleagues from the business units, which enables remote workshops to be held in real time. David from the startup tableofvisions.com renewed his offer: For four months all colleagues worldwide could test their ideas and initiatives on the innovation platform in a crowdsourcing manner. And again and again we are driven by the question: How can we give the innovative potential of our colleagues a framework and stimulate the exchange? Maybe we can get the messenger tool teamwire up and running even faster. The crisis must be good for something.


Kai Ulrich

Kai Ulrich

Innovation Facilitator

Kai Ulrich is an innovation facilitator in the Innovation and Digitization Team. He supports colleagues and customers worldwide in bringing new things into the world for TÜV Rheinland. He moderates innovation processes and transforms expert knowledge into sustainable business models. His favourite place to develop new ideas together and to take on other perspectives is the Innovation Space on the 18th floor in Cologne. There, he and his team regularly organize “Meet the new”, a popular networking meeting about digital transformation and changed collaboration. Privately, Refrath is now the hub for the Cologne-born and now exile Hamburg native. Tennis, motorcycling and excursions with the family to the surrounding area of the “Bergisches Land” provide a balance here.

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