Based on his study of the concept of freedom, the Austro-American social philosopher Frithjof Bergmann developed the concept of NewWorkThe New Work– in the course of his practical research on the subject of work. Bergmann’s critique begins with a critique of the American concept of freedom. He does not mean freedom to choose between two (more or less bad) alternatives (freedom of choice). Freedom means rather having the opportunity to do something really important (freedom of action). New work offers freedom for creativity and the development of one’s own personality.

Changing society

Our society is changing from an industrial to a knowledge society. Accordingly, corporate structures and workspaces are also changing: service, information and creative workers are moving into the centre of global business, and while the work-life balance is being invoked, the boundaries between work and private life are blurring. As creative workers, we are becoming increasingly self-employed, even if we are permanently employed (source of the Future Institute). See also my article on Work 4.0.

Idea of Newwork

“Work in a fixed place, at fixed time, in fixed structures,” is how Petry describes the classical world. According to Petry, the newwork reads: “Work where you want, when you want and with whom you want.”. Practices such as temporary work, flexitime, trust, mobile work, co-working, cloudwork and much more are used here. So there is a shift between fixed time, place and structure to flexible place, time and structures.

There is a shift between the classical world of work with a fixed place, time and structures towards flexible work (Own presentation based on Petry 2016, p. 103)

Benefits of NewWork

New Work, the world of work of the future – this topic is on everyone’s mouth: How will digitalization change the office and industrial landscape? Thus, the blog: Career Bible gives a first glimpse of the new world of work. The new work is defined as

  • Independence
  • Freedom and
  • Participation in the Community.

So change seems to be in full swing. Everywhere you read news from Home Office and mobile work. Following the introduction of the personal computer, highly flexible technologies such as the cloud enable such mobile and flexible working. “Mobile, flexible and decentralized” is the title of the blog. However, offices should not be abolished altogether, but will be changed: free-moving tables, open spaces and virtual reality instead of Skype. This is how this new work as a whole is characterized as:

  • No more pendulum,
  • Work phases and leisure periods could alternate and
  • what would be against working in the morning, spending the afternoon with the child and logging in again in the evening if in doubt? Or on weekends?

Criticism of NewWork

Criticism hangs from the WiWoamong others : “Feelgood manager, work-life balance and chef invitations to tofu grilling. The new world of work is being sold to us more beautifully than it is. Because not much has changed in the last 30 years.”. For example, it criticizes the fact that flat hierarchies cause far more power struggles. As the business magazine writes: “When processes go wrong and mistakes are made, it is often not so far away with responsibility“.

According to the magazine, the topic of mobile work also has its downsides. “It is difficult to train new colleagues when everyone is everywhere, but not in the office. And it is also difficult to create a working atmosphere when everyone is everywhere, but not in the office.” This means that employees need contact points and caregivers to turn to, even if the boss is not available.

Verdict: NewWork Yes, but without change

Many employees love their fixed structures, they know exactly what you need to escalate where (to give up responsibility) and know the relevant work instructions by heart (Bernd Slaghuis). Many companies and people are critical of change. New work costs habit. For many of today’s employees – and also for many managers who have been firmly in the saddle for the last few years. This is how Slaghois continues: New Work costs above all security: knowing what will be on your desk tomorrow. The challenge will be to reconcile the different generations with their very different values and demands on their own lives and work.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Petry, T. (2016).
Digital Leadership: Successful leadership in times of the digital economy
. Munich: Haufe Verlag.


I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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