Brave New Working World – Trends for the Future of Work
New work, digital workspace, agile work – no other area has as many buzzwords swarming around it as work. What’s it all about? Are people just chasing after hype or will the way people work permanently change through digitization? Three theories about the digital working world.
1. Mobile work vs. the office: Let employees choose
Although it appears in public discussion, working from home is not an everyday thing per se for employees. Currently, four out of ten (39 percent) companies in Germany allow their employees to work partly or completely mobile. While there was a steady growth until 2008, the percentage of employees working from home has since declined, according to the German Institut für Wirtschaft (Institute for Economics). So, rather than relying on rigid solutions, companies should instead allow employees a variable and flexible working environment which, in the age of digitization, can embrace as many workplace models as possible, promote creativity, and also offer relaxation spaces.
2. Agile work at the touch of a button?
Originally coming from software development, agile project management methods such as Scrum and Kanban have now gained entry to other company departments as a “miracle cure”. Viewed in perspective, agility can’t solve every problem, but it can make problems clear and promote flexibility in digital transformation.
What should be kept in mind when you want to introduce agility to the company?
First of all, agile work demands a radical rethinking in the company culture, from hierarchical structures to more personal responsibility. It is particularly important that employees and managers constantly reflect on their work. The ability to handle criticism well is necessary here. Employees often mistakenly confuse the removal of classic hierarchies with the freedom to do whatever they want. Particularly in agile teams, personal responsibility means taking responsibility for the team and the common goal. Therefore, it takes a lot of openness, communication, and above all time until agile methods can reach their full potential in the company.
3. Digitization changes work and promotes lifelong learning
Anniversaries celebrating decades with a company are becoming rarer and rarer today. There are two reasons for that. On the one hand, thanks to a lack of skilled workers in some industries, employees have the option of choosing a better offer and often connect a job change with a move up the career ladder or with a realignment of the economy. On the other hand, people entering the job market today are sometimes confronted with stumbling from one temporary contract to the next for years. Thanks to the lack of security and, at the same time, increasing options, employees’ loyalty to the company is sinking. That, in turn, leads to employees in a digital working world constantly gaining new qualifications and tending towards expert careers, instead of climbing the classic management ladder in a single company.
What does that mean for companies now? Lifelong learning is becoming more and more important in a digitized and fast-paced world. Employees must adjust to constant change and remain flexible and open, but companies which exemplify an open company culture must do so as well. It is not enough to find suitable talent, but they must also be made fit for digitization and consistently gain new qualifications.
Summary – What can the HR department do for future work?
While not too long ago HR departments were merely processing locations for payroll accounting, thanks to constantly changing demands in the digital working world, they are more than ever being asked to help design the nature of work and develop it strategically. Especially in the digital transformation, employees’ digital expertise must be promoted and the company must stand out in the war for talent through optimal recruiting. The competition isn’t asleep. The better the HR department is positioned for the digital transformation, the more likely lasting company success is.
HR software such as digital personnel files or self-services for employees and managers can help the HR department limit routine manual, time-consuming activities to a minimum and devote their time to essential tasks such as strategic personnel development.
We’ve prepared a few things in that respect for you. Take a look at our solutions for efficient personnel management.