New Work: Work 4.0

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Changes in the world of work as a result of digitalization are summarized under the buzzword "New Work". This is linked to the topic of "agility".

The buzzword "New Work" and the directly related topic of "Agility" summarize changes in the working world as a result of digitalization and an increasingly volatile environment. An organization or a person is considered agile if they are able to react quickly to changing conditions and remain efficient and motivated.

For companies in the mechanical and plant engineering sector, this change also plays a role. Therefore, rethinking and, if necessary, adapting their own working methods is just as necessary in order to have motivated employees in the future who will continue to contribute to the industry's ability to innovate.

The online event "New Work: Arbeit 4.0-" on April 29, 2021 was the kick-off of the event series "New Work", which is organized by ProduktionNRW together with the VDMA Business Advisory, the VDMA Competence Center Labor Market and the VDMA regional associations.

The great interest in New Work and agility on the part of the participants does not hide the fact that, according to their own statements, companies have not yet acquired that much expertise in these topics. Around half of all pre-survey respondents have begun to address the topic or are already in the process of implementing a "New Work" project. In response to the question "In your opinion, what are the success factors for New Work or agility?", the participants stated that the aspects "leadership", "trust" and an associated "flexibility" as well as a resulting "employee motivation" are necessary.

Andrea Veerkamp-Walz, speaker of the VDMA Business Advisory, took up the answers of the participants and, in the course of her introductory lecture, addressed, among other things, the topics of "leadership" and "cooperation" in connection with New Work. Accordingly, the manager is seen more as a "coach" and "supporter". With regard to cooperation, employees are increasingly organized in teams and have more autonomy than in the past. Dr. Reinhard Schmitt, executive trainer at ProcessOneConsulting GmbH, took up the above-mentioned definition of agility in his keynote speech and outlined the characteristics that adaptable and high-performance organizations should have. According to this, for example, more autonomy on the part of the employees is required in decision-making processes. The new freedoms, which the employees should then best fill, thus require a leap of faith. The aim is for employees to be able to make more independent decisions within a previously defined framework.

In the course of the small group work based on the impulse lectures, the individual questions of the participants were dealt with in depth. The keywords mentioned represent only a small part of the wide range of the terms "New Work" and "Agility" and will be supplemented and deepened by further facets in the course of the event series.

Organizer

The event was offered by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the competence network for mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is run by the VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks among themselves and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).