Digitalization, globalization, and the increasing use of artificial intelligence have changed working life – New Work and World of Work 4.0 are the buzzwords here. The transition to this new form of work, first discussed by social philosopher F...
Digitalization, globalization, and the increasing use of artificial intelligence have changed working life – New Work and World of Work 4.0 are the buzzwords here. The transition to this new form of work, first discussed by social philosopher Frithjof Bergmann back in the 1970s, requires a thorough restructuring and a paradigm shift in society. Professions that were typical in the “old” world of work are made obsolete by the digital transformation, while at the same time modern technology creates room for new opportunities. This is precisely where New Work comes in: The freedom and leeway this allows makes people think about how they want to shape the future and how they want to work going forward.
Innovating toward the digital future of the World of Work 4.0
New Work has been increasingly finding its way into working life for a while now, and this has been heightened by the COVID-19 crisis. Remote workspaces and virtual meetings have become the norm in many companies. The old world of work is disappearing at a rapid pace. Six-hour days, agile project management, decentralized teams, and working from home are the trends of the future. But what does a company need to do to survive in the modern business world? The following aspects are particularly crucial:
#1: Digital leadership is the name of the game in New Work
Holacracy and Leadership 4.0 are examples of how traditional hierarchies and strict commands are outdated. The aim of New Work is the professional and personal self-fulfillment of individuals. A strict management style that does not provide the room for this will most likely not be viable in the future. For managers, this means handing over power to employees and coaching them instead of giving strict orders and delegating tasks. New Work puts the focus on the individual potential of employees: they are not just there to work, but to put their own personality into their projects. The well-being of the employees thus becomes more relevant to managers. After all, they will only reach their full potential if they enjoy their work and feel part of the team. A relaxed working environment that promotes creative exchange within the team is therefore vital when it comes to New Work. The trend is moving toward coworking spaces and open-space offices, with the intention of driving innovations that companies will in turn benefit from.
#2: Digital leadership: trust is key
A modern management style is founded primarily on trust. In the New Work approach, companies plan on a more project-oriented basis. Inflexible working times and on-site workspaces become a thing of the past. Instead, the modern world makes it possible to work from almost anywhere. For this to succeed over the long term, a New Work mindset must be established within the company. Leaders have to trust their employees. At the same time, New Work concepts such as working from home and working remotely demand self-discipline from employees.
#3: Having fun at work gives rise to new ideas
The trend toward self-fulfillment, professional development, and tapping into potential is putting an emphasis on agile working methods such as design thinking and Scrum. A study conducted by Bitkom showed that 50 percent of all German companies with at least 500 employees implement agile project management. Through close communication, lots of feedback, and small teams, the goal is for employees to enjoy working together more and have better opportunities to contribute their own ideas.
#4: New Work means being open to mixed teams
Within the scope of New Work concepts, not only is the management level restructured, but the approach to how teams are formed is aligned with the digital transformation, with an emphasis on mixed teams.
“Harmonious systems are stupid systems! In nature, patterns of order always arise out of contradiction, not harmony.” – Experimental psychologist and neurophysiologist Prof. Dr. Peter Kruse
In mixed teams, individuals from different disciplines, cultures, and backgrounds come together, which not only promotes dynamic collaboration, but also leads to more efficient solutions and strengthens the personal development of every single person.
#5: New Work: it’s all about networking
Whether via email, phone, or video chat: as digitalization progresses, we have more and more communication channels at our disposal. Entire workspaces are becoming virtual as part of New Work concepts. Working in decentralized teams is proof that you no longer have to be in the same room to collaborate. Fluid and virtual teams are not uncommon nowadays. By cooperating with various specialists and exchanging ideas at a global level, a network grows, bringing employees from all over the world together. This increases people’s willingness to learn and fosters their personal development. Reliable, technical structures are required here. When we are eventually all connected to 5G with zero latency, the topic of New Work will see another surge in interest.
New Work as the path toward a digital future
Diversity, team spirit, and new forms of leadership – companies are increasingly embracing new ideas in the context of digital transformation. If they want to stay future proof, they cannot ignore New Work concepts. New Work raises the bar in terms of the well-being of employees. Only those who enjoy working and see an opportunity for self-fulfillment will reach their full potential and thus drive the company forward.
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