What this post is about
- The culture of work is changing – a trend called “New Work“ is forming
- It’s not about clocking in or ticking off lists anymore but about the employee and their valuable achievements
- The focus is on work-life balance
- Communication and collaboration are happening on a more informal level while work is more digital every day (think “home office“)
- There is now room for individuality, change, and ideas – made possible by the trust and transparency of the employees
Everything is different, everything is in motion. The working world is undergoing a fundamental change and narrowminded thinking no longer has a chance. Transformation is the keyword, and it even has a name: New Work - more than a short-lived trend. Digitalization, demographic change, and global networking are proof that companies cannot close their eyes to the new world of work.
However, the changes do not only affect jobs and their future. The classic 9 to 5 job is a thing of the past and society focuses more on human aspects, personalities. and individual lifestyles. Work should be fun, meaningful, and make a difference.
With New Work, the aim is to create new opportunities that employers can use to inspire their employees in the long term and keep them on board.
According to the American social philosopher (and creator of the term) Frithjof Bergmann, the term New Work is defined as follows:
It [New Work] describes the new ways of working in a society whose interplay of digitalization and global reach overrides the previous work model.
In the 1990s the greatest career goal was to complete lists as quickly as possible within 40 working hours in order to tackle even more to-do's. But this is no longer the case. A rethinking has taken place: employees are seen as the most valuable asset as they are responsible for the success of the company. Their work is important, but not an exclusive factor. The actual performance depends on the people!
Jobs today must be designed in such a way that there is a balance between private and professional aspects. People who sacrifice themselves for their jobs forget their private lives and cannot maintain a natural work-life balance. The approaches of New Work prevent the burn-out of resources and creativity.
New Work no longer knows the daily commute. Working together with colleagues, realizing projects, and exchanging experiences does not require your presence in the office. Digitalization has become an integral part of countless work processes. It connects rather than alienates.
International cooperation between teams is only possible because digital options are becoming increasingly important. Video calls and collaboration tools have become essential. Surely you’re using them, too? Working independently of time and splitting projects within global teams lead to enormous results. 20 years ago, such a workflow would have been unthinkable.
Different countries, different thinking - the global exchange of ideas boosts creativity, brings fresh inspiration, and new perspectives. The bottom line is that this leads to successful projects and happier employees. Thanks to the informal communication at eye level, everyone can appreciate the achieved goals more consciously. This is a feeling that is rarely found in rigid hierarchies.
Learning something new and contributing to the company’s growth are particularly important for New Work. But the drive and motivation of the employee alone are not enough to bring about major changes. Mutual support and teamwork are essential, too.
Nevertheless, hierarchies must not disappear. Rather, a new perspective is required: through a mixture of community, cooperation, openness, and accessibility, hierarchies are perceived more positively. The leadership style must therefore be designed as a kind of relationship management in which each participant is perceived with their strengths and weaknesses. In short: people who feel trusted are more motivated and thus perform better.
Positive communication strengthens this effect enormously and begins with the "handing over of responsibilities" instead of the "distribution of tasks". Such rhetorical subtleties motivate colleagues and encourage them in their performance.
Implementing solutions according to rigid procedures has become unthinkable. It is necessary to consider the individual goals, persons, and problems. The question should be: Is it possible to let different ideas grow according to the same, fixed schedules? The answer is no.
This insight is based on extensive analysis. And this analysis shows that new perspectives help to optimize processes and to solve problems faster. Team work is the key to success. With this basic idea in mind, ticket systems, documentation, and extensive communication can help to gain useful insights. Remember that „We’ve always done it like this“ is seldom the right approach.
By the way, it is not necessary for team members to be in the same place. Collaboration does not mean working next to each other! Whether in the home office, on the way to customers, or at work: digital access to work resources makes everyone more flexible - and flexibility boosts motivation!
Once the way is paved for modern working, it is up to the employees to make the most of this option. Your own motivation and performance need to stay high despite the freedom. What is my effect on other colleagues? Is criticism openly accepted or blocked? What do I contribute to successful cooperation?
A look at your personality is a must before opening yourself to the New Work concept. Employees need to be willing to change, to actively obtain and implement feedback, and to perceive learning processes. If you want to successfully integrate progress into your everyday life, you have to learn to grow.
The ideas that New Work represents may seem like a vision of the future for many smaller companies. However, many of those ideas have already found their way into everyday life - often unnoticed. Since 2020 at the latest, home office is no longer an excuse to hide for unmotivated employees. External factors left no other option than to replace classic meetings with video calls and reduce the exchange to the essentials. Even skeptics were surprised: there was an increase in productivity that could be realized without the need for attendance.
Self-determination and working at one's own discretion are on the rise thanks to digitization. Remote work within one's own four walls or the use of co-working spaces are no longer seen as an escape from the workplace but as an effective extension. The environment adapts to employees' lifestyles and needs, resulting in increased well-being and efficiency. A first step that underlines the increasing mobility and agility of new working methods.
New Work is no longer a utopian idea. If digitization has opened the first doors, they have been pushed wide open by now. The transition from old work models to modern New Work concepts is underway. How long a complete transition will take has to be assessed individually by each company. There is no patent remedy – again, it’s all about individual solutions.
But taking the first step is easier than expected: the digital possibilities, existing resources, and competent employees must form a balanced unit in theory as well as in practice. A little intuition and empathy can go a long way here. Remember: rethinking starts with cooperation. Only in this way can New Work function in its entirety.