New Work supports companies in facing the future in a healthy and secure way. The various approaches contribute to positive organizational development and promote a flexible and productive working environment. But what are the requirements for a successful integration of New Work concepts? Maik Schuhknecht, health management consultant at B·A·D, talks from his practical experience about the situations in which companies should decide to adopt New Work, the hurdles they face and why New Work can be healthy for employees.
Many people equate new work with home offices and constant video conferences – is that fitting?
Maik Schuhknecht: New Work is more than hybrid, location-independent working. It also includes agile working conditions, self-organized teams and decentralized decision-making structures that function according to the principle of subsidiarity. Particularly relevant to health are meaning- and value-based decision-making freedom.
Attendance days in the office should be used primarily for extensive communication and strengthening team cohesion.
How do you experience the blurring of boundaries that is often associated with New Work, where employees enjoy their work but regularly work longer hours and have difficulty winding down?
Schuhknecht: New Work in all its facets requires good self-organization and healthy self-management. Employees are given freedom, but they also must handle the corresponding responsibility. When the lines are blurred in this way, employees and managers failed to live up to this responsibility. Managers should strengthen employees in assuming responsibility and accompany them in their development. If a healthy leadership succeeds as a joint learning process, attractive working models emerge that correspond to individual life situations - a competitive advantage in the job market.
When employees get together in office meetings, it provides the perfect opportunity to exchange ideas on development topics.
How do you support the introduction of New Work on behalf of B·A·D?
Schuhknecht: As part of our "Organizational Consulting - Healthy Company", we shape the process of organizational development and facilitate the necessary stakeholder dialogs. Through involvement in the organization's communication cycles, an awareness of the importance of New Work as a resource is created. Based on this shared understanding, we define, through goals and measuring progress toward those goals (key results), the valuable contributions of the teams in the New Work fields of action. This step-by-step approach helps to optimize developments in learning cycles.
Why do employees often resist the implementation of New Work when the model has so many healthy aspects?
Schuhknecht: There is resistance in every change process. Our daily work is predominantly characterized by routines, and deviations from standards cost a lot of energy. Therefore, management must be aware for what New Work is supposed to be the solution and communicate these analyses transparently. In the next step, teams should be empowered to actively shape and co-decide the change for their sphere of action. Having a platform where learning experiences are regularly shared with each other, as well as celebrating successes together, will quickly create an energetic and effective change movement in the organization.
Self-selected work environment can increase productivity.
Healthy cooperation and New Work - do they go together?
Schuhknecht: A key feature of New Work is the short-term composition of people with diverse competence profiles for the duration of projects. However, cooperation can only be as healthy as the attitudes behind it. Therefore, values such as appreciation, trust and openness remain important.
How do you achieve healthy leadership from a distance in the New Work environment?
Schuhknecht: As a manager, it is crucial to develop a good sense for the needs and requirements of employees and to be in close contact with them. Since hybrid work always includes days of presence in the office, these days should be dedicated primarily to extensive communication and team cohesion. For example, such an office day can start with a short stand-up meeting in which professional and/or private highlights and challenges are shared. Teamwork in presence is also well suited to work on development issues together. But a shared tea or coffee away from the hustle and bustle for a personal exchange is also highly recommended.
So, at what point should companies offer New Work?
Schuhknecht: Companies should ask themselves what opportunities and risks New Work entails in the age of "Work 4.0" and how they want to position themselves in this regard. There are no across-the-board answers to this question, and each company has to develop its own New Work agenda. With suitable goals and key results, the value contribution of New Work to the company's success should become visible. Last but not least, New Work is also an answer to the question of how organizations can operate sustainably.
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