New Work: How will we work in the future?

“New Work“ is more than just a buzzword! Together with terms such as digital transformation and Work 4.0, it very much characterises today’s discussion about how we will work in the future. It’s a topic that we should get to grips with sooner rather than later. Driven by digitization, our traditional industrial society is increasingly developing into a knowledge-based economy which also means that our concept of work changes. New Work therefore describes the workplace of the future.

The concept of "New Work" was developed by the social philosopher Frithjof Bergmann as an alternative working model to capitalism. His approach focuses on the creativity and personality of employees. Hence, the fundamental values of New Work are freedom, independence and community.

Even today, smartphones and laptops already allow us to work more or less independently of time and location. Tomorrow's employees want to work autonomously. Flat hierarchies are very important in this context. In future, we will need more flexible models for our workplaces that put us humans in the centre, and this does not only apply to more flexible working hours but also more flexible workspaces.

The MICE industry is also affected by these changes. In the course of digitization, there are many new possibilities in terms of design, but also increased requirements for events. The demand for more personalized venues is increasing, classic convention centers or meeting rooms need to offer professional conference organisers more flexibility in planning events to meet different needs of participants and formats.

We discussed the New Work concept with Sabine Sauber, Head of Marketing at Design Offices GmbH, who explains the need for different work environments in the future.

Three questions for …

What does New Work actually mean?

New Work for me means having the freedom to flexibly create my own everyday working life in a work environment that inspires me and supports my creativity, together with people that are keen on trying something new every day. There's big potential for us to really get involved in shaping the changes that are currently happening. The chance to reinvent ourselves, be innovative and question things has never been as big. We should embrace this chance for change and not be afraid of it.

What will tomorrow's workspaces look like?

It's not just about deciding on working in either an office, open-plan space or at home. We need different landscapes for work, so to say, that offer us the right surroundings for everything we need to do in our working life. For example, a creative work shop involving a team of people requires a different space than when I'm focussed on a particular task that needs concentration. Our work environments need to cover these different situations. We need a landscape in which we can freely decide where to do what.

How will the spaces that we work in have to change in future?

Based on US studies, by 2020 about 40 percent of all work will involve project work which, of course, directly affects our working world. In future, we will need a lot of flexibility to accommodate for project teams that only work for a limited period of time. We therefore need spaces that are completely flexible when it comes to how they're used. They need to be inspiring, allow for creativity and support the innovations that we intend to come up with.

As Head of Marketing at Design Offices, Sabine Sauber is responsible for marketing, communication and PR. She graduated in design and has long-standing experience in communication, branding and creation, amongst others, working as art director in different creative agencies. As a fan of New Work, she likes working in different environments all across Germany. The Design Offices are Wild Card Winners of the Imex 2018.