Raimund Paetzmann is Vice President of Logistics and Network Expansion at Zalando SE Berlin and an expert at balancing logistics.
Starting at Amazon in 1999, Raimund is an e-commerce pioneer, being a part of its growth from $600 million net sales to $130 billion in 2016, and helping build the most advanced ecommerce logistic network in Europe.
In June 2018 Raimund also became Vice Chairman of the Committee on Logistics Properties in the German Property Federation.
Listen to the following clips for Raimund’s expertise:
BALANCING LOGISTICS IN REAL ESTATE
“We live in a world where sustainability is important, yet the carbon footprint of having an office utilized at 50%, is [that the] right thing?” – Raimund Paetzmann
Corporate real estate in 2022 is a balancing act. Is it the right thing to keep all this office real estate? Perhaps, if the company cashflow allows.
But for many companies, it is better to sell off a decent portion. With housing crises in many major cities, the question is perhaps building more residential real estate, as there is no shortage of office spaces. These are the challenges Raimund and others in logistics face.
If you ask Raimund whether companies currently have the correct answer, he truthfully answers that they don’t. It’s a huge shift and still a work in progress.
BALANCING THE LOGISTICS OF MEETINGS
“There was an interesting observation that [those who met] in the office [remembered more of] meetings. Because you’re always in the same room, you have no system, you just switch from one call [to the next]” – Raimund Paetzmann
Balancing logistics of whether to meet in person or over Zoom is now a common question. A recent study says that those who met in person remembered more from meetings than those who met exclusively online.
Even during Raimund’s time in lockdown, he came away thinking that he was not taking as much from the meetings as usual. He said that while he was meeting more than ever, he was always tired.
It’s a matter of quantity over quality. While it’s possible to fit in more meetings on zoom, they are less memorable (and potentially less effective). This is because you’re static in your chair without a change of scenery or much real-life socialization.
BALANCING HYBRID LOGISTICS
“I want to get a neuroscientist on because I think this is very basic. [I think they] could probably explain why things work well and [why others don’t], no matter how hard we try to make it work in the hybrid scenario.” – Sabine Ehm
Raimund says you should have moments that matter. You should talk to people without a screen. But it’s also important that in-person events and meetings have purpose. It is not enough to just have social events without a call to action.
The needs of introverts and extroverts is also a consideration. Is an event that is more of a party going to attract introverts? Probably not. At the same time, a more work-focused event may not draw the extroverts in.
It’s all about finding the balance that compliments the company mission.
OPEN PLAN DOESN’T WORK FOR LOGISTICS
“Maybe we’ve been on the wrong track, [focusing on] this huge open plan. In start-ups, the first 100 people work together, it’s like a ballroom. It’s a nice atmosphere and you like it. But as the company grows, it’s not so nice anymore.” – Raimund Paetzmann
Raimund thinks that many workers don’t want to return to the office because of open plan design. The office is too loud and noisy. They can work in silence from home.
He also thinks we have to rethink how we design offices in the future. Design them better for departments to enable a serendipitous exchange. Allow spaces for flip charts and whiteboard sessions. Get all the ideas for the week out there and coordinate your team accordingly.
FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES AFFECT LOGISTICS
“There is this bridge, but the riverbed has moved. Sometimes you have such fundamental changes about your fundamental beliefs, because everything is changing, and you have to adapt, because even the water can go.” – Raimund Paetzmann
Sabine recalls an event where Raimund showed a striking image when he was a conference keynote speaker.
It was of a bridge with no water underneath, as the riverbed had dried up. This is an analogy for the office space in 2022 and its relationship to its workforce.
Raimund insists company structure cannot be written in stone. Companies must reinvent themselves and be creative and develop new ideas. They need to constantly question the way to move forward.
CONCLUSION FOR BALANCING LOGISTICS
If Raimund could fix one future of work issue, it would be the amount of regulations for corporate real estate. If a company needs to knock walls down, or conversely, put walls up, there needs to be a faster process to enable them to do so.
Raimund doesn’t want to break rules, but perhaps be allowed to bend them at times, or make them more flexible. Not moving the whole building, but moving parts of it.