NEW WAYS OF WORKING: WHERE DO WE STAND IN 2022?
Editorial | B2B marketing
September 12, 2022
Written by Capucine de La Bigne, Editorial Content Director at DII
More than 2 years after the Covid-19 crisis, companies have fully embraced new ways of working. Although far from easy, the beginnings have revealed a variety of maturity levels (in terms of digitalization, use of collaborative tools, agile management notably), it seems that all the companies have finally managed to find their cruising speed… But where exactly do we stand in 2022? Looking beyond the surface, which new work reality are we heading to? Drive Innovation Insights, an observatory of business trends since 1993 and creator of BtoB professional clubs, has been assessing what is motivating decision-makers and comex in 2022. Here’s an in-depth look.
Facts and figures
In the last 100 years, the level of productivity per job has skyrocketed in France. We are working nearly 31 times faster than in 18901! We owe this surge in productivity mainly to the rise of new technologies which, added to the global pandemic, have widely contributed to the universal shift in work trends and practices.
Based on the premise that employees are happier and more motivated if they can decide for themselves how, when and where they want to work, NWOW2 is the new organizational mix of “work hours and space flexibility, as well as organization and management, facilitated by information and communication technologies, as part of a collaborative and more democratic corporate governance project “3. An exciting program… But in reality, how does it work? Is it only a trend or a revolution?
Liberation… or alienation ?
Remote working leads us to rethink our traditional understanding of corporate life, in the sense that it allows us to consider for the first time working from a position outside the company. With its share of more or less apparent… or damaging side-effects.
The concept of well-being at work, elevated to the rank of injunction, is hardly questioned in 2022. On the contrary: it is asserted. Digital tools, which have been an inherent part of our daily lives and everyday conversation for the past two years (” Let’s meet on Teams “), not only open the way to unparalleled time flexibility for employees, but also to an unhoped-for rationalization of costs for companies (real estate, overheads and employee travel costs…). Not to mention the perspectives and human relationships, turned upside down by an evolving spatio-temporal framework to be tamed…
If the picture seems idyllic at first, the primary imperative has not changed since the respective launch of Apple Park or Googleplex4 in the 2000s: behind these NWOW and this announced revolution, it is an increased productivity that is (still) expected.
So how can we capitalize on these organizational models and make this progress a reality for both employees and the company? Because if technologies are evolving at breakneck speed, behaviors and social reflexes are not yet there. And what used to be informal and allowed some people to get away with using their soft skills must be reconsidered, otherwise employees will be evaluated according to the sole logic of results, to the detriment of everything else. Could this be a return to Taylorism?
Future of Work and reinvented governance
How do you support employees during these all-around changes? What should this hybrid workplace look like? A model that seamlessly blends remote and in-office presence, for sure, but which also and above all relies on an adequate technological ecosystem, while no less than “40% of office workers find home working technology overwhelming”5.
IT governance, data security, cross-generational dialogue… Companies that want to remain competitive must now address all of these parameters to not only attract but also cultivate the best talent. Among the key priorities identified:
- Design remote and office environments that promote well-being
- Rethink synergies and strengthen social interactions
- Rely on technology that aligns with business needs and is supported by ongoing training
- Build a culture of learning, boost careers
Multi-disciplinary task forces, iterative mode, holacracy, collaboration… If NWOWs are to move beyond the hype and establish themselves as a sustainable model, they must reconcile the best of both worlds. And to find the right balance between control and freedom, salaried employment and entrepreneurship, singularity and teamwork, in order to support employees in search of meaning, and more than ever sensitive to new organizational dynamics.
1 « La productivité en France, au Japon, aux Etats-Unis et au Royaume-Uni au cours du 20e siècle », Gilbert Cette, Yusuf Kocoglu, Jacques Mairesse
2 New Ways Of Working
3 « New ways of organizing work : developments, perspectives and experiences. Management learning”, professeur Laurent Taskin
4 Siège social d’Apple et de Google
5 Rapport “The Future of Work”, Sharp, 2021