New Work is definitely a buzzword of our time. It shows up in very different contexts. Sometimes it’s about technology, sometimes about the free choice of workplace and time, and almost always about digital transformation. But how does this change our world of work? And what can New Work do for companies? We clear up the myths and provide short and concrete answers to the question: What does New Work mean exactly?
The most important facts about New Work
- What is New Work?
- New Work – a prerequisite for successful digitalization
- Leadership in the context of digitalization and New Work
- Flash organizations as drivers of innovation and change
- Competitive advantages – knowledge transfer & skill management
- Sustainable work through lifelong learning
- Implement New Work – inspiration and food for thought
- Happier and more productive through New Work
- Software can help implement New Work
- What experts say about New Work
What is New Work?
The concept of “New Work” goes back to the American professor Frithjof Bergmann, who describes New Work as an alternative to the prevailing wage-labor system. Bergmann’s thesis: The job system is at an end and people can thereby free themselves from the bondage of wage labor. According to Bergmann, the central values of “New Work” are: independence, freedom and participation in community.
So that’s the origin.
Today, New Work usually describes a very broad field and includes these topics:
- Flexible working hours (including part time, flextime, trust-based working, and job sharing)
- Job flexibility (including home office and remote work)
- General flexibilization of structures, thought patterns, and habits
- Collaborative work (including networked work, mentoring, interdisciplinary projects, knowledge transfer, and WOL)
This wide range makes New Work very exciting because it allows for creative freedom. At the same time, it also causes the topic to be generalized and many companies think, “New Work? We can do that. We know a thing or two.”
But is that really true?
New Work – a prerequisite for successful digitalization
New Work can offer big business benefits, as it is an important prerequisite for successful digitalization.
The new environmental conditions and requirements call for new structures and fundamental cultural changes in companies. “Flexibilization” and “collaboration” are the most important prerequisites for holistic digitalization.
Only companies that make lasting changes to structures and working methods can survive in an increasingly complex digital market and still be successful, innovative and creative in 5 years.
Most companies already have everything they need to shape their digital transformation: their own employees. The required knowledge is already in the company, it only needs to be activated. And here again New Work comes into play, since it (again) puts people at the center.
Leadership in the context of digitalization and New Work
When it comes to what determines success in terms of digital transformation in organizations, the topic of leadership frequently comes up. Because successful change needs both: inspiration and signals from above and at the same time co-determination and participation of the employees.
It is very clear that leadership during digitalization and New Work must mean focusing on people. Digital leadership means giving courage, and (free) space to create new ideas and make mistakes. Digital leaders are role models; empowering, networking and emboldening their employees; paving the way for establishing New Work in their organization.
Flash organizations as drivers of innovation and change
Businesses today also need a clear view of the skills they need to be successful now and in the future. Projects can be a driving force for innovation and change. Defining and developing new projects is vital to any business. In most cases, however, project initiation and project funding are still implemented in a classic top-down manner. Today, increasingly complex problems, for which comprehensive expertise is quickly needed, must be solved. Often these are topics that demand diverse expertise from different areas. Flash organizations can be an answer to these challenges. You can find out exactly what this is and how to use flash teams here.
Competitive advantages – knowledge transfer & skill management
As mentioned earlier, flexibilization and collaboration are fundamental to holistic digitalization. Much of the knowledge lies in the minds of the employees. But how can knowledge transfer work when employees work in silos? They need structures and working methods that not only allow creative, innovative and free thinking, but actively promote it. In companies, therefore, one’s own digital transformation always begins with the successful networking of employees and a lively transfer of knowledge made possible thereby.
In the context of knowledge transfer and knowledge management, the topic of skill management is becoming increasingly important. What knowledge already exists in your company? What skills are there? Which do organizations need in the future? And how can they be used strategically? Good skill management and the strategic use of available skills can make all the difference. Employees can work more according to their needs and feel more effective. That makes them happier and more motivated. And, therefore, more productive.
Sustainable work through lifelong learning
Another important topic for today’s world of work (and the future): learning. But what does learning mean today? And how can learning support more effective and collaborative teamwork? What significance does learning have in the context of New Work?
If we want to be collaborative in the future (and we have to), we can and should also learn collaboratively and share our knowledge. For example, peer learning can be a solution. Peer learning refers to various forms of cooperative learning. It is not just about the transfer of knowledge, but also about the shared exchange of experience. Peer learning is affordable, effective, and sustainable, and what you learn fits perfectly into the context of the respective company. By the way, it also networks employees with each other and promotes communication within the organization.
Implement New Work – inspiration and food for thought
- Find a good balance between top-down & bottom-up, and between innovation & efficiency
- Provide areas where all employees can really help shape things
- Create experimental and innovative spaces in which employees are allowed to try and develop solutions
- Try new things with the staff, set new rules – bottom-up!
- Promote communication, collaboration & networking
Happier and more productive through New Work
Through successful implementation, the employees feel more effective. They can work more based on their needs and life stages. They can work more collaboratively with their colleagues and are happier and more motivated.
Flexible job opportunities lead to higher commitment. There is less fluctuation. Innovation AND productivity increase.
In addition, companies that live by New Work have no need for expensive employer branding. The appreciation of one’s own employees and the design options are the best employer branding that exists.
Software can help implement New Work
With Tandemploy SaaS, we have developed software for New Work. We specifically support companies to catapult their working models and structures into the digital age – and match employees for all kinds of “New Work.” In addition, the employees create the often-proclaimed “future of work”: bottom-up, self-motivated, integrated into their daily work routine and suitable for the respective corporate culture. In a closed space, each employee can create a profile and easily find interesting colleagues within the organization by means of smart-matching. Through the targeted networking of experts and colleagues, knowledge transfer takes place naturally and efficiently. In addition, employees can get together on their own for projects, mentoring, job rotations or even job-sharing constellations – and thus jointly promote flexibility. Sound exciting for your company? Then let’s talk about how we can solve your challenges together with our software. Click here to book a session with a colleague who will discuss your specific application ideas and give you insights into the software.
What experts say about New Work
“For me, there is a huge opportunity that comes with the New Work process: finally, a return to people and their needs. That is what really makes this process sustainable. Because it’s about nothing less than a whole new economy that we’re building here. That’s why New Work is more than just a trend or a nice way to increase efficiency. It should be the future of our economy.”
Inga Höltmann, expert on cultural change in companies, New Work and digital leadership
“To me, New work means freedom. On the one hand, companies have to give their talented employees the freedom to make their own decisions, and on the other hand, these very employees also have to exercise their freedom – in other words take responsibility!”
Tijen Onaran, Entrepreneur, Presenter, Speaker & Founder of Global Digital Women
“This is where the big opportunities lie: we can create and shape new things; we can go new ways and define our goals; we can define and develop new roles. So, our way of working will certainly change and, in my view, it’s very positive: more flexibility, more creativity, more individuality.”
Magdalena Rogl, “Head of Digital Channels” and responsible for Social Media and Internal Communications at Microsoft