Party mood during lockdown? Creative together and inspiring exchange? A 9 days program without getting bored? Yes, that works. Digitalization works, and for whom better than for us? How this festival came about, what the organizers, participants and key speakers have to say about the New Work atmosphere and how it will continue, you find out in this A1 story.

We start with a brief look back at the genesis of New Work @ A1 in Austria, our way of modern collaboration that took its first steps long before the first lockdown. And yet, yes, March 16, 2020 was a big leap in development, when the seemingly impossible became possible overnight and a new way of working began. In addition to everyday topics, the compatibility of home office with the demands of private life, we dealt in general and a 10-member working group of interested people in particular with the various facets and issues that accumulated under the umbrella term »New Work«. From health issues, ergonomics at the new home workplace, best practice in team meetings, everything about duration, tools and equipment, tips on how to arrange and maintain rest periods, company regulations and simply exchanging experiences. But it was also very important to keep the vision of new work in mind: How can New Work contribute to a positive cultural change and promote self-organized work.

»Our employees contributed with their different talents, were courageous and created something great with this experiment.«

Fred Mahringer, Director Human Resources, A1 Austria

From idea to implementation: the biggest co-creation ever at A1

Then, in early 2021, the New Work @ A1 core team came up with the idea of putting together a 1-day program dedicated to all the different topics. Conny: »We took a light-hearted approach to the festival organization and put together a great program with a lot of power and team play.« The abundance of topics soon made the framework grow and finally there were 9 days with 64 events on the invitation. »Inspired by Michael Trautmann’s podcast and the festival at Beyersdorf, we let our A1 way of a New Work Festival emerge with a lot of curiosity and trust. From employees for employees,« says Rainer. Still hoping to at least start as a hybrid event, it finally became a digital-only event with the advantage of serving all of A1 Austria with the same offer. Marianne: »I’m glad that the festival also included the A1 team in the regions and »hard-to-reach« business units.« Giulia describes a nice phenomenon that could be observed in many sessions like this: »It’s very pleasing that colleagues from all areas of A1 participated so that co-creations and lively exchanges arose across all units.« And Karin also sees her take-away in a new corporate culture: »I was thrilled by the spirit and creativity in the individual sessions, whether actively as a moderator, participant, or as a silent reader in the chat.«

»New Work is what I really want to do«

Gwen, inspired by Frithjof H. Bergmann

Of course, we also wanted to know how this experiment was received by the participating A1 team and collected the following feedback.

And because we are really proud of what we have achieved, we are also letting a few of the 64 internal and external speakers have their say, who were impressed by the special flair, the enthusiasm of the participants and the professional orientation. Some also talk about it on LinkedIn.

Michael Trautmann: »I think it´s great and worthy of imitation that a company like A1 gives so much space to the topic #newwork, […] fantastic program, perfect organization and great interest and appreciation.« Sonja Strohmer: »It´s high energy. It was a very special experience for me.« Nadine Nobile: »Simply great what you have put together. It was one of my event highlights this spring.«

Was that all? Is it a flash in the pan or has it come to stay?

It’s nice to see that it’s worthwhile to bravely try out new things. Be it the festival itself or the diverse communication about it, such as the daily festival radio with highlights or the fixed column »New Work Wednesday« on our internal social media platform. Our next stations are the implementation of our new flexible office models, continuing to hold open discussions, sustainably pursuing the goal of best-in-class in hybrid working and investing in self-determined daily planning. In any case, we want to maintain our open mindset and gradually get a little better every day.