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NEW WORK: Rethinking the workplace

Clementina Alegrett

Job and Carreer Coach in Berlin

I didn’t want to close this year without publishing this article about how the way we work is evolving. The future of work is now a reality. Change is a constant and 2020 has been radical. We have witnessed many changes this year.

But are we really ready for change and adaptation?

It has been a real cluster. For all of us, for the entire humanity. However despite the challenges I have seen how many of us have become more resilient and many have used their soft skills, such as creativity, adaptability, problem-solving and leadership, in order to outgrow the evident difficulties that this current global pandemic has brought us.

What sort of workplace should we expect in the future?

Currently we are living in one of the most exciting career transformations of all time. Can you see it? It has been accelerated by the global pandemic, however the seeds were already sown. The workplace has been disrupted and new work dynamics had to be implemented and put into practice. We were forced to go digital and work remotely. Many businesses were not prepared for this digital leap, however it was the only way to stay competitive. Truth is, this is a new reality, a new normal and it is here to stay.

Digitization, artificial intelligence and automation are revolutionizing the workplace and altering how employers and employees work together. The workplace is being deeply questioned. And it starts to challenge the existing skills set and reinvent the scheme and manners of how we work. Covid-19 has accelerated the implementation of these practices. To adapt to the future of work, many leaders need new strategies. New Work is the answer to many of these questions. Now, my intention behind the article is to give YOU an idea of what New Work means, what it does, how it helps us stay on top and where we are actually heading. So, without further delay, for those who have never heard this term, what is New Work?

“New Work means harnessing the power of digitization to empower employees and make an employee-centric workplace through more freedom, passion, growth, and purpose”

as stated by Kununu Engagement. In other words, it means rethinking job roles to make them more flexible, offering continuous learning and new tasks to employees to keep them ready for any project, and supporting the passions of team members to let them pursue the tasks that give them purpose.

The main aspect of New Work is that it alters the relationship between worker and work and leader and employee. It places passion at the center of work, people before machines and uses technology to make the job and lives of employees better. It doesn’t put the company’s goals before people’s goals, New Work tries to connect them with the tasks, in order to contribute those great ideas to your company and mission. This way, it feels aligned and the job becomes suddenly much more meaningful.

A job stops being just a job and it becomes an important component of a richer life.

This together represents a new way of viewing work that places the strengths of people at the core, and uses the assistance of technology to make work more human. New Work is important because it places a strong focus on the human element. You may ask yourself at this point “isn’t the focus of business to make profit?” Well, the short answer is that with rapid growth and acceptance of new technologies comes big changes in how people work, how companies find and use talent, and how work is constructed and conceived. Indeed, all these elements of work, such as stagnating salaries, employee expectations,employee engagement, the physical workplace, work constellations and employee/employer relations, among others, have all felt the repercussions.

Studies from McKinsey and Company show that nearly 1 out of 3 employees in the European Union are currently active in the gig economy. And this means something. Truth is, this wave comes with new career options as well. Some careers are disappearing and new ones are being created.

Your children will probably end up in jobs that haven’t yet been invented.

Technology is disrupting the workplace. According to the same study, around 50% of the existing jobs worldwide are potentially automatable. Let us bear in mind that technology doesn’t only destroy, it also creates new jobs. Here some stats, in France for example, the rise of the internet caused 500.000 jobs to be lost, but there are 2 sides of a coin. Technology has led to the creation of 1.2 million new jobs. This represents 2.4 new jobs for every job lost.

So, in concrete, what defines a New Work workplace?

The concept of New Work is perceiving and conceiving the workplace in a people-centric way to make your business/company into an employer of choice, that offers an outstanding work culture and work environment. Whenever you hear New Work think about the following:

  1. Employee growth and development
  2. Flat hierarchies
  3. Remote work structure
  4. Flexible working hours
  5. Workplace trust and ownership
  6. Diversity -inclusion programs
  7. Purposeful workplaces and methods
  8. Open communication and transparency

In short, New Work means putting people at the center and constantly learning, growing, and expanding skills, abilities and horizons.

How do you feel about the future of work?

Photo by Hannah Wei on Unsplash