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Work 4.0

The working environment of the future

Digitalization is changing the way we work and do business

Digitalization also means rapid and sweeping changes to working environments. Professions are changing, some jobs are becoming obsolete over time, and others are being created. More individualized and flexible working time is more important today than in the past. We work in agile teams and are more likely to work remotely. That is why Deutsche Bahn is working now to prepare for and actively shape Working Environments 4.0. DB and the German Railway and Transport Union (EVG) agreed on a novel collective bargaining agreement (Work 4.0 collective bargaining agreement) in December 2016. For the first time, the employer, union and works councils can frame the impact of digitalization with a view ahead. For example, DB employees are entitled to training measures when job profiles and activities change.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Deutsche Bahn wants to use Virtual and Augmented Reality for the training of its employees. In the digital era, rail professions increasingly require specific expertise. Railway systems are continually being further developed. New technologies need to be learned quickly. Just like new trains, such as the ICE 4, which will be rolling on the German rail network from December 2017 onwards. In future, DB will use a self-developed VR application (Project "Engaging Virtual Education" - EVE) to qualify its train drivers and crew, as well as the solution from the Munich start-up company VISCOPIC, which is a mixed reality app in the DB Accelerator project For the training of maintenance technicians. On the re: publica 2017 both EVE and the augmented reality application of VISCOPIC were presented.

Train drivers learn the ICE 4 by tablet

With a mobile 3-D simulation, train drivers will be able to enter the driver's seat of a new ICE 4 on their tablet. You will learn how to open 4 bow flaps on the ICE, let brakes be released by hand or how the air springs are lowered in the event of a fault. Further learning contents of the ICE 4 were additionally adapted in the project Engaging Virtual Education (EVE) for a VR environment. With EVE, employees in the board service will be able to enter the new train virtually and test the work environment and new equipment details via natural movements. Functions become legally tangible, as a result of which learning is intensified.

Work 4.0

DB launched its Working Environments 4.0 initiative back in 2015. Some 80 experts – rail employees, works councils members, scientists and entrepreneurs – are developing prototypes and new approaches. One prototype works on the customer's travel experience on trains: How will the service provided by employees on trains change if self check-in replaces ticket inspection, for example? Another prototype addresses non-hierarchical working, and Südostbayernbahn and DB Sales have already shown that this can be done successfully.

Employees and their skills will take on new roles as digitalization makes rapid advancements in the working environment. This will affect collaboration, communication, decision-making processes, hierarchies, shift schedules and time spent at the workplace. Deutsche Bahn is actively shaping this change and has recently signed a Work 4.0 collective bargaining agreement with the German Railway and Transport Union (EVG).

Video recruiting: application channels for digital natives

Cooperating with JobUFO is part of DB's digital recruiting strategy, in which the company aims to tap into the Zeitgeist of its young target group. Applicants can use the JobUFO app to create introduction videos from their couch as they would with Snapchat. This method transforms the job application process into an experience and offers an alternative to written applications, which can often be stiff. "This additional talent acquisition method is best suited to reaching talented young people in their own environment," says Steven Sprengel, DB recruiter for high school students and skilled employees. "I would encourage applicants to apply by video for one of the 3,300 vocational training vacancies available throughout Germany."

DB is one of the first companies to use virtual reality

Employer Branding and Recruiting uses the technology to inspire young applicants first and foremost. Virtual reality glasses and 360° video allow applicants to experience what an average day is like in different vocational training professions. They get to know DB as a modern company with diverse job profiles. They often try out the technology for the first time at recruiting events and are fascinated by the possibilities.