New work at Sinnema – we prefer to lead unusually.

As inflationary as the word “sustainability” accumulates also the hit search on Google on “New Work”. 136,000,000 results in 0.40 seconds. For comparison: Helene Fischer, German Schlager-Superstar, reaches only 11 million. Nora The Explorer has asked what New Work means to the people at Sinnema.

The megatrend New Work becomes the central motto in times of Industry 4.0 and work-life balance. However, new working models, the desire for more transparency and democracy in the workplace are not new concepts. Already in 1981, the philosopher Frithjof Bergmann initiated the New Work movement. According to Bergmann, the central values of New Work are freedom, independence and participation in the community. That was over 30 years ago. Bergmann is 84 years old today. So is New Work anything but new?

Between Sabbatical and ball bath

What is already clear: the change from an industrial to a knowledge society requires innovations in the world of work. Classic concepts of work that involve time, space and organization need to be re-thought. Today, participation and democratic processes seem to shape corporate culture more than ever. Pioneers of democratization can be found in different industries. At the software house Haufe-Umantis, for example, employees choose the management and the entire management team every year.

New generations grow up with different values. Work-life balance, self-responsibility and self-reliant action are becoming increasingly important for the Generation Y. As a result, rigid authorities will probably be replaced in the future. It is not without reason that young people today ask about sabbatical and parental leave during their job interviews, rather than promotion opportunities and the number of days off – Generation Y wants everything, and all at once. According to GWA, the industry-typical turnover rate for (advertising) agencies is 20%, which means a retention of an average of two to three years. The high turnover in media agencies and start-ups is and remains an urban phenomenon.

New Work at Sinnema

At Sinnema, the concept of New Work is deeply rooted in our working habits. Flexible working hours, transparency and democracy are the focus of our work. Nobody should be neglected. Adam is a young father and has the opportunity to spend more time with his sons at Sinnema:

“I want to be there for my sons. My family should never suffer from my job.”

That this requires a lot of self-organization and optimized time management is clear to us. Nevertheless, we try to master the balancing act between family and job, without someone having to tear out a leg.
“Eight hours of creative conceptual work are impossible. I’d rather work six hours effectively, instead of sitting stupidly in the office for eight hours.”, says our Animator Simon. Flexibility and the freedom to work from home for two days are important to him. Oh by the way, in our office there is also a kicker, so we are in no way inferior to a hip start-up. But most of the time we prefer to chat over German humor, sexism and the Holocaust during our lunch together.

How much freedom does man/woman tolerate?

The working world 4.0. makes it already happen: with transparent salary policy, open expense statements and radically honest online presence. By breaking down rigid top-down structures and involving employees in the company, a great deal of trust is expected.

„It’s not the work of the organization to develop, but people are given the opportunity to develop by doing the work of the organization.“ – Tom Thomison

The important question is how much self-determined work between ball bath, after-work-beer and table tennis remains at the end of the day. Are the new working models just a management-level strategy to induce motivated workers to work even more overtime and diligence? Rightly, critical voices are being raised that say, “Don’t trends like gamification and home office scream for exorbitantly high pressure and self-exploitation?” Admittedly, the model of “I give you freedom and home office and you give me your free time and your soul,” sounds then not like such an unbeatable deal. Because when the boundaries between work and private life merge, this is called work-life-blending. And we all know what comes next: burn-out. New Work only works if time and self-management are optimized. Because with too much freedom, man is often overwhelmed. Quickly buy a ball bath and make free beer available – that’s not it. How to avoid burn-out and yet successfully integrate new work structures shows DNA (Das Neue Arbeiten). The initiative has set itself the task of accompanying companies with the help of the right experts and partners in the transformation towards “new work”.

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