New Work Barometer

Who is working newer?

These are the results of the current New Work Barometer

How do we want to work? And how should our work be organised? we asked a selection of the youngest employees as part of our study on workplace design for Generation Z at the end of 2019. At the time, there were only very subtle signs of a trend reversal: work should be more flexible in terms of time and place, more often in project teams and more agile, but not necessarily less hierarchical, was the basic tenor.

And today, two years - and a major caesura in the form of the pandemic - later: what about flexible working days, flat hierarchies and more personal responsibility? The visions of the New Work movement have become more tangible in recent months. According to the New Work Barometer, which was recently compiled by the SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences together with Personalmagazin and Commax Consulting, however, smaller and medium-sized companies implement New Work more comprehensively than larger companies.

Who implements New Work models - and where?

Frithjof Bergmann died in the USA on 23 May 2021 at the age of 90. The philosopher coined the term New Work and popularised the idea of freer working under principles such as freedom, self-responsibility, meaning, development and social responsibility as well as an understanding of psychological empowerment. His ideas fell on fertile ground in Germany and changed our view of work.

New Work = Homeoffice? Not quite!

The most important innovation in recent months has been greater work autonomy. But it is only one aspect of the transformation of the working world. The following New Work models are being implemented more and more frequently in both large and smaller companies:

  • Empowerment-oriented leadership, which focuses on the empowerment of employees.
  • Working time autonomy
  • Agile leadership
  • Agile project work
  • Flattening of hierarchies
  • Mosaic careers, i.e. switching between functions and roles
  • Equipping with mobile technologies
  • Job sharing
  • Open office concepts

It is interesting to note that there is hardly any difference in the understanding of New Work in small and large companies, but in everyday life, i.e. with regard to the measures used, it looks different again.

Small and medium-sized enterprises rely more often on

  • democratic organisational structures
  • mosaic careers
  • flattening of hierarchies

New Work Tools in large companies

  • agile project work
  • Equipping with mobile technologies
  • Barcamps, conferences with open workshops
  • company suggestion scheme
  • design thinking
  • digital leadership, leading in times of digitalisation
  • Hackatons, collaborative software and hardware development events
  • Job enrichment, expansion of the area of responsibility with appropriate further training
  • Job sharing

In small and medium-sized enterprises, i.e. companies with up to 1000 employees, the study found that an average of 7.54 measures out of 34 are implemented, while in large companies the figure is 1.5 measures higher. It is noticeable that in smaller companies tools and methods are used more often that involve a stronger democratisation of company structures. The balance of power is changed in favour of the employees through flat hierarchies and a democratic organisational constitution, while management practices and the handling of resources often remain the same in large companies.

Transformation that fits the corporate culture

The speed of change in organisations is often also a question of size: small changes can be implemented more quickly than large ones - and in small companies a more comprehensive transformation can be realised more quickly.

As office furnishers who accompany their clients throughout the entire office design process, we often see that organisational developments go hand in hand with spatial ones - and that a realignment of the office environment has an impact on the behaviour and experience of employees.

That's why we like to work with our partners and clients with target images: Which aspects of your work culture do you want to change? Which of your strengths do you want to continue to use - and what is the focus less on? After all, an open office concept, agile project work or a shared workplace should not be implemented as an end in itself - but to make your company more successful, your employees more motivated and future applicants even more suitable.

In this article we refer to the following articles:

Schermuly, Prof. Dn diesem Beitrag beziehen wir uns auf folgende Artikel:r. Carsten C., KMU setzen New Work tiefgreifender um als Großunternehmen, 02.09.2021 New-Work-Barometer 2021, SRH Hochschule Berlin https://www.haufe.de/personal/hr-management/vergleich-verstaendnis-von-new-work-in-kmu-und-grossbetrieben80550482.html, last access 06.10.2021

Schermuly, Prof. Dr. Carsten C. New Work im Krisenmodus, 17.08.2021, New-Work-Barometer, https://www.haufe.de/personal/zeitschrift/personalmagazin/personalmagazin-ausgabe-92021-personalmagazin/new-work-barometer-auswirkungen-von-corona-auf-new-work-549346.html, last access: 06.10.2021

WANDEL. WERTE. ZUKUNFT. STUDIE ARBEITSPLATZGESTALTUNG FÜR DIE GENERATION Z. Die Effekte auf Mitarbeiterzufriedenheit und Arbeitgeberattraktivität. Herausgeber: König + Neurath AG. Durchgeführt und realisiert vom Handelsblatt Research Institute. Oktober 20219

Hornung, Stefanie, "New Work ist nicht nebenwirkungsfrei“, News 16.04.2021 Befragung New-Work-Barometer 2021, https://www.haufe.de/personal/hr-management/new-work-barometer-interview-mit-studienleiter-schermuly80541232.html, last access 06.10.2021

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