What will our working world look like after the coronavirus pandemic? This is currently one of the most important questions that many people ask themselves – although the virus is far from being eradicated. Much of the discussion in the media revolves around working from home and the »enforced« digitisation push for many companies. However, this is by no means the end of the story.
The opportunity to change our working habits and entire corporate structures is more favourable than ever before. Against the background of New Work, it is therefore even more important for us to look at what actually distinguishes modern work in the new working world, where we stand and what ultimately makes us happy and successful.
New Work Accelerates Remote Work
German companies have rarely been so flexible. In the past, a lot of thought was given to what the concepts of New Work might look like. Now this future is here, and we have to walk the talk because the question of how and where we work is basically asked and answered anew every day.
Whereas it used to be mainly companies from the digital industry that had long since implemented agility and remote work, companies and institutions from the »old economy« are now literally being forced to do so. In the future, we will see that the fixed workplace will lose its importance and that the way companies treat their employees will also change.
Virtual, cloud-based workspaces will become more important, especially due to the coronavirus situation. People will realise that lots of business travel is unnecessary anyway and can easily be replaced with video conferencing – and those who do not yet have a VPN access network will build one now at the latest.
New Work – New Management Style?
New Work also stands for a change in the management style of companies. The main goal in this regard should be trustful, result-oriented and tolerant cooperation. An example of a New Work management style is the so-called »digital leadership«.
Digital leadership is intended to drive the digital change in the company. The management style of digital leaders is characterised by encouraging employees to try out new things and to not only develop own ideas, but also to pursue them persistently and learn from mistakes. In the sense of a New Work culture, leaders should also set an example to their employees of how to work in an interconnected way and share their knowledge with colleagues. Furthermore, they should coach their employees to make decisions on their own and act accordingly.
New Work for Effective Crisis Management
Critics of a New Work management style point out that people may be overwhelmed by the changes. They say that not every employee can and wants to work or even make decisions autonomously and independently. This is especially the case since many employees were not prepared to change their working methods from one day to the next in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and were supposed or had to work from home.
There are also discussions as to whether a management board that can make top-down decisions without further ado and take quick action is required in times of crisis. For example, if employees have too much of a say, the company may no longer be able to react quickly enough to market changes. Ultimately, each company has to weigh up all these considerations for itself.
New Work and the Creative Economy
New Work describes a tremendous change that is fundamentally transforming the working world and not least society. Particularly the old postulates of the performance society are being put to the test and increasingly critically questioned. The philosophy of the creative economy focuses on the potential and creative development of each individual: instead of seeing work as a value in itself, we now focus on the individual and his or her needs.
Living to work is a thing of the past. The creative economy promotes meaningful work that is in harmony with our creative needs. Will the Corona crisis act as an accelerator of the creative economy in this regard?
The coronavirus pandemic is shaking us all up and forcing us to take a deep breath and pause for a moment. Deceleration is the keyword and the message we can take away from the crisis. But it is precisely when we pause for a moment, in a world that has almost come to a standstill, that many people ask themselves the question of the meaning of life.
Let us note that we are still at the very beginning of Working World 4.0 in many areas. However, the Corona crisis has definitely contributed to the digital transformation. There is no doubt that we would have preferred something else to cause this development. Now it is up to all of us to identify the opportunities of the crisis and to quickly implement models that can make us happier and more successful.