New Work vs. Old Work

The world of work has been undergoing structural and fundamental change for several years. New Work is the epitome of this revolution, which in Germany is often also referred to as Work 4.0. What makes work “new” and what was actually so bad about the “old”?

The idea of New Work comes from the Austrian-American social philosopher Frithjof Bergmann, who took a closer look at capitalism and its darker side – The problem: an outdated and rigid work system. His solution: New Work or New Work. Bergmann is convinced that our society is undergoing a transformation from an industrial to a knowledge society and that traditional work structures must therefore give way to new and more flexible forms of work. New technologies, digitalization, automation and global networking offer new opportunities, which is why corporate structures and workplaces will also have to evolve into newer models in the future. Just how right Bergmann was with his observation is already evident in many companies today. Especially young and modern startups are the pioneers of this revolution and more and more companies are jumping on this bandwagon.

What characterizes New Work?

The cornerstones of the original New Work concept are the values of independence, freedom and participation in the community. New Work is intended to create paths and free spaces for creativity and personal development and thus, in one way or another, bring about genuine freedom of action. That’s the theory, but what does that mean in concrete terms? How is our everyday working life changing in the New Work?

1. decentralized work

Rush hour in the morning, jostling with like-minded people in the overcrowded subway or standing in a traffic jam for what feels like an eternity; then rushing to the first meeting of the day with a completely overpriced coffee-to-go while quickly answering 100 e-mails at the same time….that sounds familiar? But it’s old news! In the New Work, physical proximity to superiors and colleagues is no longer necessary for productive collaboration. The home office and decentralized collaboration (even across national borders) are becoming the new everyday working life.

2. new workspace

Do companies even need expensive open-plan offices if their employees work mobile and location-independent anyway? The answer is: Yes, but…! In the New Work, companies will continue to have offices and centralized workplaces. The reason: They provide an important point of contact and serve to identify with the company. However, they will be designed differently in the future – New Workspace is the motto. Dreary offices give way to creative and modern office landscapes, which are equipped with quiet zones, telephone boxes and open areas for joint exchange.

3. independent work

Executives who wear sneakers with their suits and leave their ties hanging in the closet – that’s New Work, too. While old forms of work were characterized by clear hierarchies and strict work instructions, today it is much more about modern leadership that is characterized by eye level and appreciation, by more coaching and less announcements.

4. work-life balance

The question “family or career?” is passé. Indeed, the concept of decentralized working enables a better balance between job and family. Working parents in particular will benefit from this, as they will be able to better and more flexibly adapt the balancing act between work and children to the respective everyday situation.

What our workplace will look like in the future is still uncertain. New Work is not a model solution, but rather a concept that thrives on agility and further development.

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New Work vs. Old Work

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