New Work

Emerging into a new work culture

The world of work is in a state of transition: Today work is more global, connected, mobile and intensely knowledge-oriented than it was just a few years ago.

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In the future, companies will do less administrative work and more design work.

Quotation from: acatech (Ed.): Die digitale Transformation gestalten – Was Personalvorstände zur Zukunft der Arbeit sagen, Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag 2016

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The elements in demand are quick action, networked thinking and a wealth of ideas.

Birgit Gebhardt, trend researcher and author of the New Work Order studies

The drivers of change

  • Global networks are accelerating competition.
  • Automation, robotics and algorithms control merchandise management and are taking over aspects of human work performance.
  • The communication media make it possible to access information at any time and to make presentations that are tailored to the users.
  • The demographic transformation requires more intergenerational communication and mutual adjustment.
  • Participation at the social level requires corresponding participation within companies.

New types of work

Communication is becoming employees’ most important activity

New tasks require new methods, a better understanding of customers and a broader range of expertise. Today consumers expect products that are adapted to their individual needs rather than standardized off-the-peg solutions. That means manufacturers and service providers must be flexible and adaptable. As a result, communication and cooperation have to function effectively across teams and departments, and often across companies as well.

Breaking down company boundaries: Unternehmen = companies, Mitarbeiter = employees, Externer = external person, <i>Source: New Work Order basic survey</i>
Breaking down company boundaries: Unternehmen = companies, Mitarbeiter = employees, Externer = external person, Source: New Work Order basic survey Lupe_grau

Digital communication, networked business activities

Social networks are models for the new forms of cooperation. Following the example of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, virtual business networks and social collaboration platforms such as Jive, Yammer, Sharepoint and Communote make it possible to connect knowledge across company boundaries. This is creating open channels for bringing together the right experts for each task at hand. It’s also making work mobile. Theoretically, work can be done almost anywhere.

The new role of the office

Social contacts and identifying with the company

What factors motivate employees to work in an office? One motivation is the opportunity to meet up with colleagues.

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Offices are gaining in importance as places where people can have valuable personal encounters with their coworkers. People want to meet other people and be part of a group. In the future they will still want to work in a pleasant office building and be proud to be part of a company.

Dr. Josephine Hofmann, Head of the Competence Centre Business Performance Management, Fraunhofer IAO, from: New Work Order study, 2012

Switching to the right work mode

In addition, employees will always choose working at the office if it’s the right environment for the task at hand. Consequently, the office design has to match the current task not only functionally but also emotionally. In other words, the New Work office is designed like a small town. It combines places for spontaneous meetings, rooms for concentrated individual work, areas for teamwork and so on, whose design can be modelled on different kinds of public and private spaces. However, every company must decide for itself which combination it needs.

<i>Source: New Work Order basic study</i>
Source: New Work Order basic study Lupe_grau

A healthy work environment

Moreover, offices still have a very traditional function: offering employees a work environment where they can work without having their health impaired by noise, glare or a shortage of movement.