The New Way of Working: trend or necessity?

Published on 25/04/2016 in Inspire

The New Way of Working: trend or necessity?

In a lot of large companies, the `New Way of Working’ is no longer a trend. It's a fixture. In SMEs, this new approach has not yet established a firm foothold. And yet the costs savings are significant when you look at the big picture.

Although everyone seems to be full of it, there's no concrete definition of the New Way of Working. After all, the approach differs for every company. In general terms, it can be described as a quest for a balance between benefits for staff, on the one hand, and improvements in productivity and cost savings for the company on the other. The way this balance is achieved is a matter for each individual company - and often even each individual staff member. 

A child of the crisis

Since 2008, western Europe has had to struggle with a persistent, lurking crisis. In this context, companies began to look to innovation and cost cutting to balance their books. They also had to seek out a new model to improve the return on their human capital. A lot of firms found that return in the New Way of Working.
The various forms of the New Way of Working not only bring direct cost savings for the employer, but also make the working conditions easier for the employee. As a result, not only will the employee work more efficiently, but his/her satisfaction will increase too. But it's still important to make good arrangements. The best way for you to do this is to organize introductory workshops.

More than just homeworking

Some organizations think that the New Way of Working equates to homeworking. Thanks to modern technology (the cloud, mobile devices, etc.), homeworking is one of the easiest measures to introduce. The cost savings brought about by homeworking are obvious: you need less office space and expenditure on electricity, heating, etc. falls.  When all your staff are not at the office all the time, you can switch to flex desks. Be sure to set up enough small meeting rooms and think about areas where people can work in silence. 
But firms soon realized that some staff, such as receptionists, cannot work from home. Preferential treatment among staff would make the New Way of Working counter-productive. That gave rise to the so-called ‘menu’.

Benefits à la carte

These days, the New Way of Working tends to take the form of a menu of benefits compiled by the employer, from which the employee can choose.  One benefit that is often chosen, for instance, is the personal mobility plan (a public transport subscription combined with or instead of a company car). Mobile devices and the accompanying subscriptions also offer an undeniable advantage for both employer and employee, certainly as regards tax. Another possibility is to use ‘BYOD’ (Bring Your Own Device): your staff bring their own device with them to work. You contribute towards the purchase or subscription costs. 

Looking to the horizon

Even now, when we at last seem to be climbing out of the deep chasm created by the financial crisis, the New Way of Working is more useful than ever. After all, the ‘War for Talent’, as it’s called, is fast looming on the horizon. The ageing population means that, by 2020, for every ten employees who leave the market, only seven will join it. So there will be a real staff shortage. What's more, during the past few crisis years a lot of employees have not dared to change employer. Once the storm has passed, all these employees may well go in search of a  new job with better conditions. So organizations that do not yet apply the New Way of Working will have to watch out that they don't lose their best people. A positive image as an employer is a key requirement on the labor market. The New Way of Working can make a significant contribution to this. 


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