New Work in times of SocialDistancing
Since the beginning of this year, most companies have not only been confronted with economic challenges, but also with the term “new work” with increasing frequency. In times of physical distancing, terminologies such as home office, online meetings and teamwork are gaining new meaning. However, the long-term effects of this form of work, for both employees and companies, are not yet foreseeable, but their analysis is essential for the success of a company.
What is New Work?
The term “New Work” can be understood as a summarizing concept of work approaches. The overall goal is the creation a “New World of Work”. The foundation on which this “new world of work” is based can be summarized by 6 principles:
1. Flexibility: Self-management and productivity management of the workforce is gaining importance. This is supported by the desire for more flexible working time models.
2. Flat hierarchies: Employees strive to promote independent thinking and want to be involved in decision-making. This can be achieved through situational levels of authority.
3. Agility: Flexible structures and processes are considered an important part of the New Work approach. For example, strategies and budgeting are reviewed at short and regular intervals and adjusted as necessary.
4. Digitalization: The digital networking of both companies and their employees is the enabler of all principles of the “New Work” approach. This enables effective, collaborative and transparent cooperation between all employees across teams.
5. Individuality: Great importance is attached to the ability to adapt to the individual needs of employees.
6. New office concepts: Cross-departmental teams, an open-door policy and the possibility of home office hours are representative of a wide range of new office concepts.
What effects do new work approaches have on the HR department?
The new principles permeate all HR functions and serve as enablers in times of physical distancing:
- Personnel development: Working on remote as well as digital training opportunities are fundamental components of the working world. Times of Covid19 promoted those components even further.
- Compensation & Benefit: The increase in short-time working allowance, the possibility of special leave and the salary waiver for members of the Management Board are just a few of many possibilities. Those support employees both physically and mentally during the period dominated by Covid19.
- Recruiting & Employer Branding: Virtual assessment centers, talent pooling and remote onboarding have emerged as new opportunities in the recruiting field.
- HR services: Flexible working time models and a Digital Employee Care Center can help to support HR services.
- Structure and process organization: Agile teams, new office concepts and the progress in digitalization enable and require the reduction of rigid hierarchical structures in companies.
- BGM / Health & Safety: In times of the Covid-19 crisis, the company health care system plays an overriding role in ensuring employee health and safety.
- Culture & Values: Transparent and open communication promotes the building of trust among team members, especially in times of physical distancing.
How can a new culture and new values be effectively anchored within an organization / team?
We have compiled a DIY-Guide to facilitate the implementation of a new culture and new values. The DIY-Guide includes the following points:
1. Influence the changed corporate culture: Interactive video conferencing, daily stand-up meetings and virtual happy hours can support the anchoring of the new culture.
2. Define a virtual meeting etiquette: Mood surveys at the beginning of each meeting as well as paying attention to a suitable background. Furthermore, lighting and seating position contribute to an open and more productive online session.
3. Influence changing everyday structures: Integrating sports, varied and creative activities into the daily work routine increases quality and productivity at work.
4. Adapt your management style: Transparent, emphatic and optimistic communication kept to reduce the stress level of employees. Furthermore, the creation of goals, fewer controls and trust in employees promote culture and value development within teams / organisations.