There’s no denying that the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically transformed our working world. With the shift to working from home instead of in the office, we have witnessed the emergence of a new trend, albeit a controversial one. This trend goes by the name of “New Work”. In this blog post, we explore the issues behind this trend and how it’s affecting an increasingly crucial area of corporate activity: contract lifecycle management (CLM).
What Does New Work Stand For?
With this new way of working, positive values such as personal responsibility, independence and participation are becoming core guiding principles of the working world. The New Work movement is being driven in particular by the young elites, the digitally socialized Generations Y and Z, today’s twenty to forty-year-olds. New Work is synonymous with a highly digitalized working world that is connected, relies on teamwork, adopts agile working methods, offers flexibility and is committed to flat hierarchies.
In addition, New Work is an expression of a new working culture that places greater emphasis on maintaining a healthy work-life balance than on classic privileges such as a fancy company car or large office. Driving this are the changing desires and life plans of younger generations, who truly value a meaningful career, personal fulfilment and an excellent work-life balance.
What Is the Significance of New Work in Corporate Practice?
Many decision-makers in companies are asking themselves whether New Work is simply a trend that will fade away in a few years. The HR Report 2021, which was compiled by the Institute for Employment and Employability and the HR service provider Hays, supplies interesting figures for this discussion. A survey of 1,046 companies in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) concluded that more than half of the companies surveyed have already implemented elements of New Work. What this looks like in figures:
- 61 percent of all companies have already started to make working hours more flexible
- 55 percent are increasingly relying on project-based work
- 53 percent allow employees to work from home
- 51 percent of all companies have already introduced agile working methods
Incidentally, the pioneers of this development are companies with between 1,000 and 5,000 employees. New Work plays a particularly decisive role for companies in the industrial and service sectors. What’s more, companies with managers in the under-40 age cohort are much more committed to the values of New Work than companies with older management structures.
How Has Coronavirus Impacted New Work?
The coronavirus pandemic forced many office workplaces to switch to working from home, which meant that many processes had to be rethought. As a result, the working world became more flexible and agile virtually overnight. For employees, working from home means thinking more in terms of projects and acting in a more self-driven manner. The sustainability of this development is also underlined by the HR Report 2021, in which up to 65 percent of companies assume that these changes will continue even after the pandemic is over.
This push towards modernization, which many companies were initially forced into, also proved to be a catalyst for New Work. Many employees and businesses learned to appreciate the benefits of this new way of working. At the same time, it became apparent that those companies that had already digitalized many business processes and converted them to New Work before the pandemic weathered the storm particularly well.
Consequently, the pandemic became a crash course in New Work and digitalization. Perhaps the biggest lesson we can learn from the pandemic is that digital transformation also requires a new working environment: companies need to become faster, more flexible and more agile in order to be successful in the market in the long term and continue to attract bright young minds in the future.
What Requirements Does New Work Place on Contract Lifecycle Management?
New Work demands and promotes a more flexible, agile working environment. Contract lifecycle management, i.e. the management of a company’s contracts from initial contract creation to final archiving, is affected by this in three ways:
- New Work and digital transformation are having a massive impact on the overall contract management of companies. The increasing flexibility of business processes and working methods is posing new organizational challenges for numerous departments. Whether procurement, sales, finance or HR, the requirements for contract lifecycle management are changing in almost all departments due to digital transformation. Speed and flexibility have become the new guiding principles for effective working. Contracts and contract drafts must be available quickly, preferably 24/7 – whether at the office desk, at home, on the train or in the car.
- The organization of contract lifecycle management itself must also be adapted to modern working environments. Employees working on different projects must be able to access relevant current and archived contracts in a flexible manner, while travelling or working from home. It must also be possible to control the contract design process transparently across all project phases.
- With these new requirements, a third aspect of modern contract lifecycle management comes to the fore: the issue of security. Contracts contain a great deal of sensitive data, such as business secrets, personal data, important KPIs or financial information. Despite all its effectiveness, flexibility and transparency, businesses must ensure that this sensitive information can only be viewed by those who are actually authorized to do so throughout the entire contract cycle.
How to Best Meet the New Requirements of Contract Lifecycle Management
To ensure your contract management is ready for the digital future of New Work, it’s absolutely essential that you digitalize this business process as well. By relying on digital solutions that cover the entire contract lifecycle, you create the ideal prerequisite for your company to meet the requirements of New Work: efficiency, transparency, flexibility and security.
On the one hand, a software solution for contract lifecycle management can relieve your employees of having to perform numerous routine tasks and promote collaborative work. On the other hand, the software provides structured access to contract documents at all levels and across all project phases. This way, all parties involved have maximum transparency, while the company creates the best conditions for guaranteeing secure handling of sensitive company information.
Make Your Company Ready for New Work: How to Digitalize Your Contract Lifecycle Management
In our free guide, we show you how to digitalize your contract management in just a few steps, thereby helping you to create the optimal conditions for efficient collaboration. But that’s not all: contract lifecycle management ensures compliance with all legal requirements and minimizes business risks.