Moving experiences

    Ian McMaster
    Von Ian McMaster


    On Monday this week, I went to visit my new home — together with a dozen of the 70 or so people who will be living there with me from mid-November.

    No, I am not moving into a commune. This will not be my new private home, but rather my work home — in Spotlight Verlag’s new offices in the Obersendling district of Munich.

    Since I joined Spotlight in July 1992, I have regularly told friends, family and business partners that I work in Munich. In reality, our offices have been just outside the city limits, first in Gräfelfing and, for the past 20 years, in Martinsried, home to many bio-tech companies.

    Having had my office in the same room for all of these 20 years — while many of my colleagues have had to move rooms numerous times — this is quite an upheavalUmbruch, Umwälzungupheaval, or a “disruption” as one says in modern business parlanceJargonparlance.

    For logistical reasons, I will actually be moving rooms twice over the next six weeks — first, within our existing offices next week, and then across town to Obersendling in November. Disruption indeed after 20 years of stability!

    Disruption and stability are both essential to work effectively

    The truth, however, is that I to look forward to sth.sich auf etw. freuenam looking forward to both moves. A change of sceneTapetenwechselchange of scene will do me good, and the reality of the modern mobile business world is that one’s office is much less of a focal pointhier: Zentrumfocal point than it used to be.

    In addition to working in various other parts of Spotlight’s current building — for staff and departmentalAbteilungs-departmental meetings, presentations, brainstorming etc. — I’ve also spent many hours in recent years working on planes and trains, at airports and conferences, in hotels and cafes, or at home, where I am currently writing. In fact, I usually feel more creative when writing and thinking “on the moveauf Achseon the move” rather than at my desk.

    My patternMusterpattern of working life is increasingly typical. The latest issue of Business Spotlight (5/18), contains a fascinating article about “digital nomads” and the office-space empire WeWork, which allows people to travel the planet and set up shop in a variety of locations. The company is also starting to offer shared living spaces in the same building as the offices. This “WeLive” concept further to blur sth.etw. verwischenblurs and to disrupt sth.etw. stören; grundlegend veränderndisrupts the distinction between home and work.

    Disruption is an essential element of business life. Indeed, Christoph Keese, one of Germany’s leading digital experts, to arguebehauptenargues in his new book Disrupt Yourself that organizations and individuals often need to disrupt their own business models before a competitorMitbewerber(in), Konkurrent(in)competitor does so.

    Along with disruption, however, most people need an element of stability to work effectively. Few to thrive (on a situation)(in einer Situation) gedeihen, Erfolg habenthrive on permanent, non-stop disruption. And so, although I’m looking forward to my two moves, I’m also looking forward to a period of stability in my new work home. As, I suspect, are most of my colleagues.


    In his blog, Ian McMaster has been commenting on global business issues since 2002. For older entries, see the blog archive on our former website.