Press Release 021/2020

Working in Times of the Pandemic

First-aid kit on distributed working helps companies whose staff operate from home
2020_021_Erste Hilfe Kit fuer Verteiltes Arbeiten_72dpi
The first-aid kit for successful distributed working supports companies in reorganizing their work during a crisis situation. (Screenshot: “First-aid kit”)

With their “First-aid kit for successful distributed working,” Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and  Mittelstand 4.0 Kompetenzzentrum Usability (Usability Competence Center 4.0 for Medium-sized Enterprises) want to help small and medium-sized companies switch to entirely decentralized work in times of a crisis. The compact handout includes tips and recommen-dations for a functioning IT infrastructure, a mission state-ment, and successful virtual communication and additionally highlights the psychological dimension of working from home.


For many small and medium-sized companies, the epidemiological social distancing requirement means that their work organization is subjected to a special kind of crash test. Within a short term, they have to switch from traditional ways of working to a system of spatially distributed actors. The “First-aid kit for successful distributed working” developed by KIT’s Institute of Information Systems and Marketing (IISM) and the Usability Competence Center is designed to cope with this challenge: In the areas of IT infrastructure, mission statement and regulations, communication, mindset and behavior, typical problems and solutions, sustainable establishment, and software solutions, the four-page paper provides detailed information on decentralized work.


“Our first-aid kit is very concise and easy to understand,” says Ivo Benke, researcher of IISM and coordinator of KIT’s Usability Competence Center. “In the current situation,” Benke adds, “it is not about publishing a comprehensive scientific study. Our first-aid kit presents the findings of literature searches and empirical surveys as well as own experience to companies. It is a collection of best practices or best advices that are easy to understand and can be implemented quickly.”


IISM’s first-aid kit developed by Ivo Benke, Nevena Nikolajevic, and Alexander Mädche is part of the “Social distancing and social awareness” project carried out by the Usability Competence Center. It was established under the “Mittelstand-Digital” (Digitalization of Medium-sized Enterprises) initiative of the Federal Ministry for Eco-nomic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and supports small and medium-sized companies in designing digital technologies easy to use and positive to experience.


"First-aid kit for successful distributed working”, PDF for download: (in German)



Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,600 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 23,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

jha, 30.03.2020


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Justus Hartlieb
Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41155
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The press release is available as a PDF file.