New Work / New Ways of Working — Concepts, Methods, Benefits & More — Everything to Know About the Megatrend
New Work is not just a short-lived trend in the working world; it has ushered in an entirely new era. Especially in light of staff shortage in many sectors, it is becoming increasingly clear that the typical work forms need to change. On one hand, companies need to respond to the altered human resources situation; on the other hand, the expectations and priorities of employees have changed. New work is, therefore, the order of the day and is just as important as digitization.
↓ Definition of New Work
↓ Typical concepts in the field of New Work
↓ New Work and modern IT systems
↓ Advantages of New Work
↓ Are there drawbacks to New Work?
↓ Checklist: Requirements companies need to fulfill for New Work
↓ 5 tips for implementing New Work concepts
↓ How can companies benefit from the concept of New Work?
↓ Where does the current New Work trend come from?
↓ Why is New Work so relevant?
↓ What is work-life blending?
Definition of New Work
New Work describes the fundamental transformation of the working world under the influence of globalization and digitization. In particular, the changing expectations and needs of employees are in focus. New Work represents the structural redesign of working conditions. For instance, innovative workspace design should help employees find meaning in their tasks and identify with them. For companies, this means more autonomy, more freedom, and involvement in decision-making processes.
Typical Concepts in the Field of New Work
The definition makes it clear that New Work involves greater independence and freedom. But what does that actually mean in practice? Some concrete examples of New Work can help provide a good initial impression and help in understanding the approach. These are the typical concepts that exist in the field of New Work:
- Working from home
- Remote work
- Flexible working hour models
- Job sharing
- Co-working spaces
Flat hierarchies and agile working are further aspects that constitute the New Work concept. The primary goal is to replace old structures with innovative approaches. This establishes the basis for contemporary working methods.
New Work and Modern IT Systems
The digital transformation is closely linked to the New Work trend. Digital solutions are an essential component of New Work methods, often focusing on mobile work or working from home.
At the same time, digitization continues to drive New Work, as technical possibilities kindle the desire to modernize the working world. Nevertheless, companies need the right IT infrastructure to implement the concept of New Work. The IT infrastructure must enable work from any location and at any time. Equipping employees with laptops or mobile access is just as important as conducting online meetings, which have now become the standard. Furthermore, maintaining maximum IT security is crucial.
Advantages of New Work
The reason New Work has been on everyone’s lips and why companies worldwide are encouraged to reconsider is due to the significant benefits the concept offers. Both companies and employees benefit, creating a win-win situation.
The most important benefits of New Work include:
- A high degree of flexibility
- Independent and autonomous working
- Fostering creativity and productivity
- Increasing employee satisfaction
- Reducing turnover rates
Are There Drawbacks to New Work?
Despite the many advantages of New Work, it has faced criticism. Some aspects lead to a critical view and should not be ignored. These disadvantages are often discussed in relation to New Work concepts:
- No clear distinction between work and private life
- High demands on employees regarding self-management and time management
- Greater organizational effort for companies
- Limited control for employers
- Social isolation and loneliness among employees
- Loss of team dynamics
Checklist: Requirements Companies Need to Fulfill for New Work
Many companies have a fundamental interest in the New Work concept. However, uncertainty is often high because established structures need to be disrupted. Furthermore, implementing New Work is not straightforward. The following checklist shows the conditions that need to be met:
- Appropriate IT infrastructure
- Adequate employee qualifications
- Modern leadership style with flat hierarchies
- Needs-based facilities
- Agile work methods
- Openness to innovations
5 Tips for Implementing the New Work Concept
The New Work concept appeals to both companies and employees. Employers interested in New Work, however, are faced with the significant challenge of implementing the concept. The following tips can help set you on the right path:
- Be open to innovations
- Use digitization to explore new avenues in the daily work routine
- Equip your employees with laptops, tablets, and/or company cell phones
- Create diverse teams that bring together different competencies
- Train your leaders in New Leadership
How Do Companies Benefit from the Concept of New Work?
Introducing New Work into a company initially requires some effort. Additionally, employers must be willing to take new approaches and depart from familiar structures. This is not easy. In return, they can increase their attractiveness as employers, motivate employees, and create space for innovative concepts. All these aspects contribute to sustainable competitiveness.
Where Does the Current New Work Trend Come From?
Austrian-American social philosopher Frithjof Bergmann is considered the founder of the New Work movement. In the 1970s, he developed the fundamental idea and built his concept upon it, which aimed to establish a future-oriented approach to work. Bergmann saw no future in classic capitalism or socialism.
Why Is New Work So Relevant?
In the 1980s, Bergman founded the Centre for New Work in Flint, USA. The idea of New Work is not entirely new but actually several decades old. Nevertheless, it is a current trend. Increased globalization and digital transformation have gained momentum in recent years, highlighting the importance of innovative concepts like New Work.
What Is Work-Life Blending?
In the context of New Work, work-life blending is often discussed. Most people are familiar with the term work-life balance, which describes a balanced equilibrium between work and private life. Work-life blending blurs the boundaries. The current flexible work style, along with the fact that work is seen as a meaningful and fulfilling activity, creates a strong connection between private life and work.
In recent times, New Work has gained considerable acclaim and is often touted as the solution to all workplace issues. It is undeniable that this concept holds significant potential. While it may not be a one-size-fits-all remedy, individual aspects and insights are undeniably valuable and have the potential to lead to sustainable improvements in both social and economic terms.
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