Experiencing the new way of working

13/02/2020

As students we are daily encountered by the fact that concentrating isn’t something that comes easy. Some students prefer to work in the library, some prefer to work at home, and some prefer to do nothing at all. It is simply a working process to try and figure out what suits you best. But not only students deal with difficulties finding out what the most efficient way of working is. Research shows that nearly half of the people in the office have difficulties when it comes to concentrating. It is also said that it takes 24 minutes on average for a person to concentrate again after being interrupted from work. Therefore, private as well as public organizations are trying to find the perfect working method in order to improve efficiency. 

One popular method that is being used by (public) organizations is the new way of working or activity-based work and is  found frequently in public administrations all over Europe. It shows a vision where staff can work at different spots in the organization, at home or in cafes. Besides that, it’s possible to work flexible hours during the week. Multiple empirical studies have shown that new working methods in terms of temporal and spatial flexibility have the potential to improve working conditions, outcomes, the quality of work and therefore the efficiency.  This way of working differs from the old way and breaks the walls of the stiff bureaucratic way. 

New way of working.

Old way of working. 

Choose where you would like to work (Company, train, public facilities, cafe’s, coworking locations etc.) 

Work at the office within set times. 

Results as an indicator for success. 

Importance of being present and making hours. 

Leadership based on trust. 

Leadership based on control. 

Good IT facilities for flexible work. 

Good IT facilities at the office. 

The municipality of Rotterdam also introduced this new way of working back in 2014. While introducing this method the workplaces per person decreased from 1,2 to 0,7 workplaces per person. As an intern at the municipality in Rotterdam I am confronted with this new way of working every week. I realized that for some officials, changing from one way to another, comes easier than for others. Because of the flexibility it’s pretty hard to find a quiet place and concentrating can be difficult. An option of course is to work at home or with your headphones on. However, research has shown that a third of the people don’t trust their coworkers and think that they are simply taking days off. 

Fact is, that more and more organizations are implementing this way of working. The possibility that you will work with this method is  very likely. Do you think this new way of working suits you?