Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, the virtual world has become an ever-more tangible reality for many who shifted to remote work from their home office. The oikos community, and in particular the international team, has found their new work base in the clouds already as of 2016 and has been pioneering with new, creative approaches ever since. Besides our onsite events, all our conversations and the coordination behind the curtain happen online. Since early 2019, every oikos International team member except the president works remotely from a place of their choice, making oikos live and explore its full international potential. That’s also why, when the Corona pandemic hit the world, we rather found ourselves bulletproof and with a high ability to adapt quickly. One element that is missing to embrace this way of working: the location of the president – and our physical office in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
With the remarkable state of the world and the entering of a new president, the oikos board now agreed and approved to take a leap: we wish to enable the president to serve the community from a location with a more global embrace and a place with a social support network of her/his choice. While remaining a Swiss organization that is based in the canton of St. Gallen, the physical office in St. Gallen will become obsolete and is not needed any longer. At oikos, we perceive this as an opportunity to reduce structural obstacles to impartiality and nurture our team culture and health. It enables us to be very intentional about strengthening long-standing partnerships and exploring further international links and networks. We are proud of our Swiss roots and just as excited to see where we might grow from and with them.
The recent pandemic renders a new era and we, as a student initiative, sense that there is an increased opportunity for us to contribute to a bigger leap in society and in our own community as such. For doing so, we have to recenter ourselves and align our setup with our increasingly complex environments and the world’s requirements – while living up to what we preach content-wise. This also means looking at the sustainability of our structures and mindsets as an organization.
Considering these points, the step of going remote is intertwined in a broader strategic discussion about our ways of working and about setting a general direction for the future of oikos. Looking into the patterns of the future of work and management shows that there will be a focus on relational, participatory, virtual, purpose-driven and self-organized practices. Amidst, or even because of the incredible pace and fluctuation in a very creative and innovative student environment, oikos is already moving on these paths and perceives itself as a study case for re-designing our set up in collaboration with our network. What can we learn from each other?
We consider the removal of a physical office as a step closer to embracing the world and our international community of student change agents. Nevertheless, the symbolic power and legal benefits of certain physical locations cannot be denied – therefore, this step is a contemporary, safe first move and the conversation shouldn’t stop here. Bundling the discourse with the aim of becoming a future-fit organization, we wish to invite contributors from the broader oikos network to the table in order to collaboratively strategize and help strengthen the organization for the turbulent times on the horizon.
You wish to join these reflections & actions? Any questions?