The Wildling fox’s den is in Engelskirchen, a small community in the middle of Germany’s Bergisches Land region, in a picturesque setting among meadows and forests. Although this beautiful location is the focal point of Anna and Ran’s life and home to the Wildling warehouse, it’s not round the corner for all the experts who are now working for Wildling. From the beginning, therefore, Anna and Ran were convinced that the growing team would be able to work from anywhere. The Wildlings don’t work together in one place, but the focus is always on their common goal.
“I love the freedom that Wildling offers me,” says Tina, veteran pack member. “Of course we have fixed times for our meetings, but I can do my work whenever it suits me. I really enjoy working from home. But sometimes I do feel the need to go out. In principle I can work from anywhere - thanks to technology. In the garden, by the Rhine or in a café - my laptop is always with me. What's really great is that remote working means I can always work wherever my loved ones happen to be. If my kids are ill or have holidays, I can organise my time differently and be there for them.
“I’m very grateful to be able to work like this! ”
Indra sees it in a similar way. “As the single parent of a primary-school child I’m very grateful to be able to work like this. It’s fantastic that I don't have to take time off just because the little one feels under the weather in the morning and then sleeps the whole day. It’s great that I can go to parent meetings and craft sessions at school and see my daughter's eyes light up. And by the way the job is also handy for my neighbours (laughs): After all I'm there to take in any parcels they might receive. They’re extremely grateful for that. You do need a bit of discipline in order to keep yourself organised. But that works surprisingly well now. I love the freedom that I have when I’m working. I like the contact with others in our telephone conferences and working together on projects where everyone can bring in their strengths - in their own personal way.”
That sounds both interesting and varied - the day-to-day experience with remote working - an aspect of new work - is anything but boring and lonely. Every few weeks the Wildlings meet up in the fox's den to discuss things in person. That’s something the whole team looks forward to for several days beforehand. As well as joint workshops and discussions, there's always lots to tell. It's lovely to see each other again and there are lots of hugs.
Every team member ist always looking forward to the next get together.
“Of course with us, too, it’s not always sunshine and roses,” says Christina. “For example you can’t always get together spontaneously to discuss something. And I personally sometimes miss seeing the gestures and facial expressions of people I’m talking to in digital meetings. Sometimes there’s also disruptive background noise. But overall, we at Wildling are very grateful for the way of working that modern technology makes possible.
People at the forefront
Key to remote working as an aspect of new work is that people are at the forefront. Everyone works at what they do best, when they can do it best. At first glance, “taking your laptop with you everywhere” might sound to some people like “being reachable the whole time, wherever you are”. But that’s not what characterises this modern way of working.
Melanie works in the mornings, because that’s what fits best with her family’s childcare. Claudi works in the evenings when her two robber’s daughters are already asleep in bed. And there are a few of us who enjoy an outing during the week from time to time, putting in a weekend shift to balance it out. The museum is simply a lot quieter on a Tuesday outside of the school holidays. That’s great for childless art-lovers. In return you have a lot more peace in the garden at the weekend, when all the neighbours are out and about. It's about everyone doing what works for them.
Remote doesn't mean that you always have to work by yourself. A few Wildlings in Berlin meet regularly for co-working and brainstorming sessions. That can be in a café or at the home of one of the colleagues. In Cologne there are similar groups, and for a short while now there has also been a co-working space for the Wildling team, which is already being well-used.
Beim Coworking ist die Stimmung immer gut.“Working together here promotes exchange in addition to communication which is otherwise almost exclusively digital. You connect names with faces, and communication between individual teams is strengthened,” says Melanie.
The philosopher and developer of the new work concept, Frithjof Bergmann, sees new work as a rising and revolution through creative use of a flood of surprisingly innovative technologies. That includes not only the transformation from industrial to community-based production and a meaningful distribution of tasks, but also a completely new working culture. Remote work is part of a colourful spectrum.
The world of work is changing, and Wildling has been part of that since the beginning. The team has grown considerably over the last few years; its members come from all over Germany, or in some cases much further afield. One thing has become clear during this process: Being bound to fixed places of work and fixed times simply isn't possible, but nor it is necessary for working together creatively and developing new ideas.
Anna, Ran & the Wildlings