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Telekom boss: Home office will remain an integral part of the working world

Since the lockdown in mid-March, Deutsche Telekom has seen an enormous increase in calls and data traffic over the fixed network.

The home office effect is clear: At times, the Telekom network transmits up to 70,000 web conferences at the same time.

Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges never thought much of the home office. Nevertheless, he is convinced: “We will not return to the situation before the crisis, but rather to a hybrid (working) world.”

As a result of the corona crisis, Germany’s largest telephone and Internet provider is experiencing a home office effect when it comes to network utilization. “People are calling far more than before the shutdown,” said Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges when presenting the quarterly results on Thursday.

In the period from mid-March to the end of April, mobile phone use increased by 30 percent compared to the beginning of the year. Classic landline telephony even saw an increase of 76 percent. The Internet also appears to be more heavily loaded. Fixed-line data traffic increased by almost 18 percent during the lockdown. At the same time, the infrastructure remained stable, without a single network failure, Höttges assured.

Home office effect in the fixed network

Telekom attributes a large part of this growth to the fact that many people moved to their home office during this period and now have to organize their collaboration with their colleagues remotely. According to the group, more than half of the companies in Germany are in the telecom network. On weekdays, 60,000 to 70,000 web conferences are currently being broadcast simultaneously via the company’s own networks. The demand from companies for VPN connections has also increased significantly.

This is good news for Telekom: CEO Höttges expects that the booming demand for fixed network infrastructure will also have a positive impact on sales in the second quarter and the following quarters. This is not without a certain irony, because Höttges is an avowed skeptic when it comes to working from home. In several blog entries on the Linkedin platform, the top manager has warned in the past that more and more home offices are “the wrong target”. He preferred to be “among people. With direct communication on call. ”

“We will reorganize ourselves”

Nevertheless, the Telekom boss is convinced that the home office is indispensable in the working world of the future: “One thing is certain: we will not return to the pre-crisis situation, but rather to a hybrid world. And in this hybrid world, we will work back and forth between the home office and the office. We will reorganize ourselves – and that is exactly what we are focusing on. ”

It is now a matter of professionalizing this work from home. Many people would not begin to take advantage of the possibilities offered by the state of the art, for example when exchanging documents or using chat applications such as Slack. It is therefore primarily a question of qualification, said Höttges.

Höttges warns that working from home is too exhausting in the long run

The home office strategy of the telecommunications group is expressed on the one hand in a product offensive for corporate customers, for example in the sale of the Webex conference software.

On the other hand, Telekom has also switched to homeworking within the group. Around 180,000 employees currently work in the home office – including the service staff from the call centers. They are currently working on getting 50 percent of the employees back into the office. “We won’t say like Google and Apple: everyone will be at home until the end of the year. I deeply believe that it is good to have hybrid structures, ”says Höttges. He believes that the work will be too strenuous and that productivity will decrease if employees are permanently in the home office.

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