New work – The future of toil | DW Documentary

Greta and Jan Navel are living their dream: New Work. They’re salaried employees on a world trip by bus. They work wherever they can, at the camping table, in the café or beach bar. They speak to their employer once a week on the phone.

Many companies have radically modernized their working hours models. Hotel staff coordinator Tim Meckelholt sees his colleague Annemarie less frequently than before, but for longer. In the “25 hours-Hotels” in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, employees can choose between the classic five-day model or the new four-day model with longer working hours. The job application rate has increased by 200 per cent since the introduction of this new approach.

Work-life blending instead of work-life balance – a model that merges private life and professional life: “If employees can integrate private things into their working day, this reduces their everyday stress and while at the same time strengthening their commitment to the company,” says labor market expert Dr. Daniel Dettling. At mechanical engineering company Trumpf, this works thanks to flexible work time accounts for all and the consistent digitalization of the production process. Added to that, there’s an in-house kindergarten, gym, and laundry and ironing service, as well as health checks.

And if a baker’s working day begins at 6am instead of 2am – that’s also an example of New Work. New working hours models and improved working conditions are also making this particular business more attractive to potential new recruits.

New Work doesn’t necessarily mean more money and greater freedom. It’s more about a mobile, flexible and self-determined working life with all its advantages and disadvantages.

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