In botany With plant talk

Nfter five years in the home office, I no longer wonder about talking to myself in a long time. Finally, someone to listen. But you have to Worry, if you talk to plants, we say, with a dragon tree? And benefits of this conversation? I ask these questions here only for a friend, so there are no misunderstandings. You should not strain the Good thing about this crisis, Yes, but people suddenly discover things that are overlooked for years. This also includes indoor plants, the dusty is in front of belong. The dragon tree is said friend’s way would probably be for a long time, if he could. The earth is never changed, children from plucking the leaves, it is poured randomly, once in a month. But now he moves to the office of a colleague and will also talk still day-to-day course.

Can salad leaves falling into a swoon?

If you follow the theory of seven years ago the deceased lie detector specialist Cleve Backster, then a Plant knows that it is neglected. He was convinced that plants have feelings and a memory and that you remember when a rubbish head telling to you. This is the result of Backster in the sixties, after an attempt with his Houseplant, dragon tree. At the time, he was employed by the CIA, but that changed quickly, as we heard in Washington that his theory is that even salad leaves are falling in a swoon. Time life believed Backster on plant feelings, after he had experimented on a winter morning with the dragon tree. He wanted to know how quickly water from the roots was in the leaves, closed the plant on the polygraph, and waited for reactions. He dipped the leaves in coffee: Nothing happened. He wanted to grab a book of matches, struck out of the detector before Backster was able to light the Plant. After a series of special experiments he was convinced of the unexpected capabilities of plants. You can read thoughts, joy and grief, their owners guess, as well as the enemy’s intentions. And share, scream at the quasi-electrically, if someone is tormenting you. “The secret life of plants” describes how to back TERS Experiments, the book is a classic. As a spiritual father, the physician Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801-1887) – called with his book “Nanna, or the soul of the plant life in this country”. Modern best selling hot similar, to come of scientific, therefore, to go out into their kitsch idea of nature, but rarely about the pioneers.

Plant physiologists, however, it is still impossible and unproven, that plants listening to us or even show emotions: they have neither a brain, nor nerve cells, or receptors for sound waves or other vibrations. Even the Declaration that people of the Plant donations zusprechend carbon dioxide, devoid of scientific basis. Perhaps it’s the plants that will be addressed by the owner or payments, including Prince Charles, therefore, better, because, you know, by the way, more care. In any case, must make, no one cares, if he makes it: It is completely normal, it is called in a hoax Video of alleged psychiatrist, if you speak in times of quarantine with walls, flowers, or other objects. “Please call us if you answer them.”

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This is how managers and employees become crisis-proof

Dusseldorf There are people we admire for their mental strength – Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of them for many: banking, euro, refugee crisis – and now the corona pandemic. Merkel remains level-headed, less emotional and exudes a well-dosed, factual optimism.

The Chancellor has proven herself in times of crisis, and her critics have become louder in quieter times. Especially in difficult times, the physicist seems to have enormous reserves of strength. How does it work?

A specialist discipline in psychology helps to clarify the question. Researchers have analyzed why some people are able to cope with serious crises in a psychologically robust way, while others are completely thrown off track. It is about the different levels of ability to cope with stress, that is, psychological resistance or “resilience”, as it is often called in technical language.

Not only the current corona crisis with its omnipresent health risks and the often unfamiliar home office situation is an example of how important it is to remain calm and confident. Otherwise it is also necessary to deal with stressful situations: conflicts with the boss, the failed project, dismissal. Or in private: disputes, divorce, loss of relatives.

But how do we manage to deal with crises constructively?

“A certain proportion of our personal stress resistance is genetically determined,” says Michael Kastner. The head of the Institute for Occupational Psychology and Occupational Medicine in Herdecke knows that those who have a balanced nature, are intelligent and open, who recognize opportunities even in difficult situations, tend to have it easier in crises, studies show.

Michael Kastner (medical doctor and psychologist)

“Resilience can be trained like muscles.”

(Photo: IAPAM)

But “resilience”, and that’s the good news, can be learned to a certain extent. Medical doctor and psychologist Kastner has good news for everyone who has not been put into crisis-resistant properties: “Resilience can be trained like muscles.”

There are special coaching offers for managers and employees – like Jutta Heller’s in Nuremberg. The 58-year-old says: “People who have problems in crises should not struggle too much with the situation.” It is about consciously switching off the dark spiral of thought.

Because even in a crisis you can learn to be optimistic, says Heller. Sometimes it helps to perceive the beautiful things in life again – for example through a joy diary. There are three things noted down every day that you were happy about. “That strengthens the inner state – and the resilience.”

Experts also advise you to deliberately distance yourself from the news ticker in order to switch off. A current European study by the Mainz Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research shows how important this is. For example, 93 percent of those surveyed stated that they felt stressed by media reports in the corona crisis.

Managers and employees should also try to get out of the victim role. It is helpful to consciously reflect on your strengths. Anyone who remembers how they have mastered crises in the past can rediscover them in this analysis.

Jutta Heller (Resilience Coach)

“People who have problems in crises should not struggle too much with the situation.”

(Photo: Ingo Förtsch)

In addition, organizational psychologist Kastner advises people to exercise a lot, sleep well and, if at all, only enjoy alcohol in a well-dosed manner. Rewards are important, for example, for the fact that long-standing work has finally been done. But then reading a good book or taking a walk is often more positive.

What Kastner recommends in the current situation: to create a daily routine. It starts with getting up and getting dressed and goes into clearly defined phases of work and leisure. This offers security, predictability, predictability and fills the day with meaning. This could “reduce fears or feelings such as helplessness or loss of control”.

Stable social contacts – family, friends, colleagues, clubs – also help in difficult times. Those who share their fears and worries with someone become more resilient. Especially in the crisis, it is important to actively maintain social contacts – in order to be able to drop into your social network.

More: Home office, short-time work, layoffs: this is how Corona changes the world of work

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Man is the biggest problem for the computer

The biggest risk to a company’s IT security is people, I learned. It is people who download dangerous malware onto their computers because they answer e-mails promising bargains. Or they just give away their password, because an email pretends to them that their bank account has been blocked and should now be unlocked again.

Employees become the greatest risk to the security of a company if they, just like it happens a thousand times, move to your home office. You take the company laptop home and drop it in the bathtub. Or they carry it around in their briefcases, which they then forget in the supermarket – along with the sensitive data on them. Or they neglect the protocols and read their emails over a public WLAN and not over the protected company network.

If you just let the people work, they would destroy the company in minutes. Why an army of administrators is needed to prevent the worst. Which in turn means that IT staff have to work like kindergarten teachers to prevent the little employee from messing around.

I don’t think there is a safer way to doubt the basic ability of humanity to survive than an IT career. There are plenty of stories about stupid users on the Internet. Data is often deleted and those affected are outraged that the deleted data is actually gone.

But there are also tech support callers who fear that their computer has been infected with viruses because they have touched it with unwashed hands. Or those who complain that their computer does not properly record the CD-ROM until it turns out that they have put it upside down.

You read from users who should send a screenshot and then post a photo of their screen in the mail. And also from people who give their home address when asked about the IP address. There are also requests from users who have problems in the home office because their dog chewed the keyboard. In short, when a person gets involved with a computer, it is a really dangerous thing for the computer.

One could easily conclude that the whole story would be simpler if it weren’t for the people. Most things are already automated – and there are always problems when people intervene. However, robots also have their pitfalls.

I recently read an article in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” about how robot-controlled equity portfolios are lubricated in the corona crisis. For the most part, the robo traders who were supposed to sell or buy shares according to chart analyzes had not even noticed that something extraordinary had happened in the world.

It may be that in some ways they were even more stupid than the stupidest users. Or the possible eradication of the human race is not a special event for them.

More: Despite security gaps, Zoom grows to 300 million users.

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Home Office V

Monday. All rooms are cleared out, all shrubs cut, all Easter eggs found, the last bastion falls: it is time, says the wife, to clean up the tool cellar. W E R K Z E U G K E L L E R? Bring the system into the relevant disorder of the wrench? Yes, the wife whispers, and whether the old soldering iron will still be needed? It was a good marriage so far.

Holger Appel

Holger Appel

Business editor, responsible for “Technology and Engine”.

Tuesday. The baker wanted to visit her mother-in-law in the retirement home over the holidays. Wasn’t allowed to. Fatalism is moving in, the baker says, the old lady says, either she dies from corona or from loneliness.

Wednesday. The incumbent chancellor and the incumbent country father extend the blocking of contacts until May 3. After that, an app developed by Google and Apple and the government organization RKI should follow us freely. This is now called tracing and is therefore harmless in terms of data.

Thursday. An expert opinion states that air quality is getting better, so traffic is crucial. An expert opinion states that the air is unchanged, so the weather is decisive. The jokers from the Deutsche Umwelthilfe are bored, they demand speed 120, out of concern for overworked doctors. The maneuver is so shameless that a shitstorm burns on Twitter. Rescue is approaching, the dealerships may open on Monday, there will be something to remind you again.

Friday. The flight mode on the phone is rusty. Condor hangs on the flycatcher. The question is eagles, cranes or vultures.

Saturday. The kicker app shows 2 games. First division Belarus. The baker says that she doesn’t care about football, she finally wants to go to the hairdresser again. Which would also do good for the suitless men with their mullet mats.

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One World: Together at Home featured more than a hundred stars at home

Culture Together at home

World stars in the home office

| Reading time: 2 minutes

Global Citizen Together At Home Global Citizen Together At Home

The Rolling Stones performed in their own living rooms

Source: Getty Images for Global Citizen / Getty Images

A virtual benefit event with more than 100 greats from music, television and sports started on Saturday evening as a digital livestream. In “One World: Together at Home” the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and Billy Eilish, among others, sang from the home office

VFrom their sofa at home, viewers all over the world watched a virtual corona concert on Sunday night with dozens of world stars from the Rolling Stones to Beyoncé to Taylor Swift and Stevie Wonder. The stars performed in their living room or on the terrace, the show was broadcast on the Internet.

World stars give benefit concert for Corona helpers

A charity show on the Internet is intended to raise money for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. There are greats like Rolling Stones and Billie Eilish on Saturday. The Internet event was organized by Lady Gaga.

Source: WELT / Laura Fritsch

The four members of the Stones played – each in their own living room – their song “You can’t always get what you want”, they could be seen on a four-part screen, drummer Charlie Watts improvised with everyday objects as drums. Taylor Swift appropriately tuned in on the piano for her hit “Soon you better”.

The successful Hessian band Milky Chance also appeared. Born in Kassel, Philipp Dausch and Clemens Rehbein (both 27) played their hit song “Stolen Dance”. They were the only German artists on the program at the big Corona benefit concert.

Heidi Klum was one of the many stars who thanked doctors and nurses for their efforts. They are the “real heroes” in the Corona crisis, said Klum.

Initiated by pop star Lady Gaga, the concert was supported by the Global Citizen movement and the World Health Organization WHO under the motto “One world: Together At Home”. According to the organizers, more than 32 million euros were raised to support various organizations active in the fight against the corona virus.

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“One World: Together at Home” featured more than a hundred stars at home

Culture “Together at home”

World stars in the home office

| Reading time: 2 minutes

Corona concert with megastars and millions of donations

A star-filled thank you for the helpers at the forefront of the corona crisis: the virtual concert “One World: Together at Home” brought together artists such as Billy Eilish, Elton John, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. There was also a band from Hessen.

A virtual benefit event with more than 100 greats from music, television and sports started on Saturday evening as a digital livestream. In “One World: Together at Home” the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and Billy Eilish, among others, sang from the home office

VFrom their sofa at home, viewers around the world watched a virtual corona concert with dozens of world stars from the Rolling Stones to Beyoncé to Taylor Swift and Stevie Wonder on Sunday night. The stars performed in their living room or on the terrace, the show was broadcast on the Internet.

World stars give benefit concert for Corona helpers

A charity show on the Internet is intended to raise money for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. There are greats like Rolling Stones and Billie Eilish on Saturday. The Internet event was organized by Lady Gaga.

Source: WELT / Laura Fritsch

The four members of the Stones played – each in their own living room – their song “You can’t always get what you want”, they could be seen on a four-part screen, drummer Charlie Watts improvised with everyday objects as drums. Taylor Swift appropriately tuned in on the piano for her hit “Soon you better”.

The successful Hessian band Milky Chance also appeared. Born in Kassel, Philipp Dausch and Clemens Rehbein (both 27) played their hit song “Stolen Dance”. They were the only German artists on the program at the big Corona benefit concert.

Heidi Klum was one of the many stars who thanked doctors and nurses for their efforts. They are the “real heroes” in the Corona crisis, said Klum.

Initiated by pop star Lady Gaga, the concert was supported by the Global Citizen movement and the World Health Organization (WHO) under the motto “One world: Together At Home”. According to the organizers, more than 32 million euros were raised to support various organizations active in the fight against the corona virus.

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This is how a boss establishes a good home office culture in times of Corona

San Francisco, Dusseldorf Katharina Borchert is sitting in a conference room in Mozilla’s headquarters in Mountain View. On the back wall is a large video conferencing screen. It is the end of February, one of the last days before the fear of the corona virus finally reaches Silicon Valley. A day before Facebook Thousands of employees on his campus in nearby Menlo Park “strongly recommended” to only work in their home office.

For Mozilla, which offers Firefox, the third most widely used Internet browser in the world, this is hardly anything new. Founded in 1998 as a foundation company on the ruins of the browser pioneer Netscape, it has its origins in the voluntary open source movement, whose headquarters have always been the Internet. Many employees started from anywhere in the world as programmers on individual projects and did not move to California when they got a permanent job at Mozilla.

The 50-person team that heads innovation chief Borchert writes codes for Firefox and has developed “Common Voice”, the second largest open source database for voice recordings, which can be used, for example, to train smart assistants.

The 47-year-old is the only one who comes to the Mountain View office. She likes to do that. She holds video conferences with the others, sometimes due to the time difference from walking in the morning until late at night. “The phone is extremely unsuitable,” she says. A video conference helps to avoid misunderstandings and confusion – if it works properly.

The employees work in nine time zones, in offices, coworking spaces or at home. Her former “Chief of Staff” called his office a forest hut in northern Sweden, others are based in Mumbai or Munich. Even her personal assistant works in nearby San Francisco, but saves the commute down to Silicon Valley.

A few weeks later, many companies around the world are Mozilla – forcibly. Because of the corona pandemic, companies in which stamping has just taken place must make friends with conference calls and trust-based working hours.

Bosses, who otherwise measure productivity by the office chair occupancy rate in their aisle, are now sitting in the home office themselves. Work routines, working hours, informal hierarchies, coffee gossip – everything has to be rearranged.

Home work par ordre du virus – it is a gigantic social experiment that could change the work culture far beyond the corona crisis. If companies succeed in integrating telework productively into their processes, employees who want it could stay at home most days. Workers with children could save themselves the triangulation of the house – daycare center – office in the morning. And city centers could be cleared of gray office complexes and commuter traffic in the long term.

If it fails, the looming economic crisis also creates a productivity crisis for millions of companies and employees who lose their minds between Slack news, zoom conference and changing diapers.

Many bosses distrust the employees in the home office

Borchert knows German offices – the ex-journalist was editor-in-chief of the news portal “Der Westen” in the Funke media group and managing director of Spiegel Online. In Germany there is a mistrust of whether employees in the home office really work. Even in the companies that Borchert was running at the time, she was never able to establish another culture. “I got my team to teach me what good remote leadership is,” she says.

And what makes it special? “You have to document a lot more – team norms, processes and conferences,” notes Borchert. If she writes an email at the weekend, she points out that she doesn’t have to answer until Monday. Borchert is only allowed to hold conferences with Europe until 10 a.m. – if the employees do not allow an exception. If someone sends a message in the Office Messenger Slack to all members of a channel, a bot will automatically inform them of the different time zones in which the members are and who may therefore no longer read them.

In general, Slack-Bots do a lot at Mozilla: Every Monday morning, one of the employees asks what important projects they did last week, what they want to do this week and whether there is anything personal that they want to share – the latter to get the gossip out of the Transfer coffee break to the virtual office.

When many new members joined Borchert’s team, the “donut bot” chose a different colleague every two weeks, with whom they could go for a coffee via video conference.

These are not just emergency nails, Borchert insists. Nor are they ideas that only work in the software industry or in a non-profit company. On the contrary, this culture brings advantages that have nothing to do with homework. For example, new employees could be integrated more easily because they know where to find important information or who is responsible for what – because the otherwise unspoken laws of a team are pronounced.

“In the office, the team norms wobble implicitly through the room,” says Borchert. “If you can no longer just go down the aisle, you have to make it much more explicit.” And honestly, how many companies organize coffee dates between old and new employees – whether by bot or on the bulletin board?

Mozilla is known worldwide, but a fairly small fish in Silicon Valley. A much larger campus also has its Mountain View campus and is courting employees similar to Mozilla. “I don’t have to go with Google compete to find the best machine learning talent from Stanford, ”says Borchert. “There are equally good people in Bulgaria or India.”

Google and Facebook are also popular

In the valley of inventors and developers, all factors for a strong homework culture seem to come together: a young, digitally educated workforce. Jobs where output counts instead of hours spent. And the tough talent competition, the gigantic property prices and salaries reward a globally distributed colleague.

But a strong homework culture is not a question of geography: Google, Apple or Facebook are digital companies, but they are by no means purely digital companies. With its gigantic headquarters such as the Googleplex, the U-shaped Apple Park or the Salesforce Towers have just built the Silicon Valley giants of the culture of the Cathedrals bulk office.

Before Corona, even Facebook employees with children who often wanted to work from home could often only stay in the home office for one day. In a telephone press conference, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that working at home with his wife and two children was also a major change for him.

This applies to his company, which even offers a platform for distributed teams with Facebook Workplace, all the more: After the home office order, Facebook employees got into a dispute as to whether discussions about which weekly market sells the best seeds belong in the internal work forums or Not. A kind of discussion that not only Facebook is currently experiencing.

“The big corporations here are just that: big corporations,” says Aaron Levie. The 34-year-old founded the cloud service provider Box in 2005 as a student, he knows Silicon Valley and its culture very well. “The companies here have all digital tools, but they face many questions of the same kind: How do we guarantee IT security if thousands of employees suddenly access our network from outside?” He says. Many people in the area around San Francisco have emergency plans for earthquakes, but not for a pandemic.

For the video call, the founder sits in his living room under an abstract drawing. It is the end of March, in the boxing center in Redwood City, right next to the railway line between San Francisco and Palo Alto, has only been an emergency occupation for fourteen working days.

Why does a company like Box need a head office? Levie speaks of spontaneous collaboration, of flipcharts that you can quickly stand up to. But he also says, “We’ll think about it very differently after Corona.”

He is currently learning in real time how telework is changing culture for the better. The weekly general meetings, in which most employees took part personally, now take place virtually. “More questions come from more different people. It’s more collaborative than it used to be, ”says Levie.

Perhaps it is Californian optimism to want to wrest positive things out of the crisis. Perhaps it is the business opportunities that a cloud entrepreneur like Levie sees through a trend towards remote work. But even if it is primarily software companies that promote a stronger remote culture, few of the reasons are limited to their industry. It is not only developers who prefer to put their children to bed than to be stuck in the commuter train at this time.

The result is more important than the hours worked

Of course, like many things, Silicon Valley companies are more keen to experiment. There are companies, like the developer network Gitlab, of three Ukrainian entrepreneurs who ended up in San Francisco through the start-up academy “Y Combinator”, but still call themselves “Remote Company” as companies without headquarters.

And there are corporations like Facebook that have to get used to the diaspora enforced by Corona just like some medium-sized companies or Dax companies.

At the same time, there are companies with a strong culture of remote working not only in the Laissez-faire state of California, but also in Germany. This includes, for example, the cloud provider Nextcloud. The company’s open source software is used, among other things, by the federal government for data exchange between authorities.

“We have an office in Stuttgart and one in Berlin, but our employees mainly work from home – sometimes across several time zones,” says Nextcloud founder Frank Karlitschek. For example, a colleague lives in Hawaii.

The 55 employees are used to agreeing on digital channels. “Home office requires that a company think results-oriented. I cannot check how long an employee works or how long breaks they take, ”says Karlitschek. In the end, the results counted and not the hours worked. “We don’t care who works where, when and for how long.”

In addition, the company relies on a way of working that can also be delayed. “Our processes also run asynchronously. We have few classic meetings. That’s why we work with chats. ”Agreements or tasks could be shared there, which an employee then takes up as soon as he has time – for example because he lives in a different time zone and is therefore awake at different times.

However, the Nextcloud team cannot do without personal contact either, emphasizes Karlitschek. “We meet several times a year for a week.” This would allow personal contacts to be established and deepened, which would later facilitate agreements. Actually, all employees should come together in Berlin soon, but that won’t work because of the corona pandemic. The meeting is now taking place as a video conference.

Editor’s note: Co-author Alexander Demling worked at Spiegel Online when Katharina Borchert was managing director.

More: Despite home office and contactless payment, the pandemic is only pseudo-digitizing. But it also offers the chance to change course.

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