New Work – New What?

A new article published by me at Campana & Schott.

Home office, flexible working hours, flat hierarchies – new tools alone are not enough for New Work. Companies must bring the constantly changing needs of employees into harmony with the organization in order to ensure long-term success. This also requires new values and ways of working in all areas. With the right approaches, the necessary cultural change can be achieved.

New Work – What is really new? And what’s the cultural impact?

Before Corona, Sebastian was in the office five days a week – with a 60-minute drive from door to door. During the pandemic, he got to know and appreciate the home office: sleeping longer in the morning, helping the kids with homework, doing laundry in between, and working with focus in the evening. Sebastian appreciates this flexibility.

In the near future, he will work completely in the office again. The offer from another company comes at just the right time: although it is located in a city further away, he would only have to travel to headquarters twice a month. He starts to wonder…

More and more employees demand flexibility

This example is not an isolated case. The world of work is currently undergoing massive change, and with it the expectations and needs of employees. Many no longer want to forego the ability to organize their working day flexibly and on their own responsibility. As a result, corporate culture is becoming an increasingly important factor in the choice of employer.

It is not just a question of how many days attendance is compulsory in the office, but also of trust in employees to carry out their tasks independently, even without constant supervision. In order to survive in the war for talent in the long term, companies must therefore address the values and principles of New Work and embed them in their organization. Then they can both increase their attractiveness for talent and realize enormous cost savings.

What is New Work, anyway?

New What? Currently, there are various terms around the topic of New Work, which are also used in different definitions. Originally (as early as the 1980s), the sociophilosopher Frithjof Bergmann described New Work as a new understanding of work in times of globalization and digitization. His theory focuses on the values of freedom, personal responsibility, meaning, development and social responsibility.

Today, however, discussions about New Work are often only about height-adjustable desks, mobile devices, collaboration tools or working time models. Without question, these points are important, but they do not represent the holistic picture of New Work.

New Work is a new understanding of work that, among other things, brings the changing needs of employees into the focus of the organization and reconciles them with the concerns of customers and the company. The underlying principles must be anchored in all areas of an organization. Only then can the value of New Work be realized in the long term. This includes, as a foundation, the corporate culture, shaped by people, but also the processes, structures and working methods in an organization.

Based on this understanding, in combination with the values postulated by Frithjof Bergmann, the following principles can be derived.

Read more within the full article (German): New Work – New What?