At the beginning of March, a friend of mine who works in a Parisian design office posted on social media: »Salut, mes chers, je passe au télétravail!« She was asked to leave her open-plan office due to the coronavirus. Télétravail is the French word for something for which we do not have a proper German word in German: we call it home office whereas real native speakers would rather describe it as »working from home« or »remote work«.
The word component »tele« is not even French but ancient Greek. It means far away. The French thus work discretely from far away these days. At least conceptually, they do not let themselves be nailed to any place in times of curfews (sorry, I mean contact bans) when they are not working from their office.
No matter whether they are working from far away, from home or via mobile devices: while the world is standing still to flatten an infection curve, the global working world is in fact changing rapidly. But what was the so-called New Work all about before the coronavirus? Why can such impulses lead to great benefits, in particular for many companies that now believe they are sliding into a crisis?