The New working Paradigm is here to stay

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About two years ago, a pandemic spread across Europe and shook up our professional and private lives for good. The ‘old normal’ – working at the office for five days per week – was abruptly replaced by a 100% virtual way of working, as Covid-19 required most of us to work from home to stay safe.

As we gained an understanding of what was actually possible and felt the benefits of digital collaboration, the movement towards reinventing how we work was accelerated. Now, organizations find themselves trying to combine these two ways of working in a hybrid work model. But when reinventing how we work, questions arise: what is our New Working Paradigm? And how does it add value to organizations? In this blog we will dive deeper into this concept and explain why the New Working Paradigm is here to stay in a post-pandemic world. To provide you with the opportunity to assess where your organization is currently at regarding the New Working Paradigm, we developed a 10-minute version of our hybrid work assessment: A quick scan.

What is the New Working Paradigm?

Before diving in, let’s define what we mean by the New Working Paradigm. It is an analytical approach to design your future way of working that is tailored to your organization. Despite the truly relevant discussions focused on creating the physical and digital workplace for hybrid work, the New Working Paradigm takes a broader perspective. It is about determining why your organization wants to work differently and what the impact of such a decision is for your organization, where one potential outcome is to combine physical, virtual and hybrid ways of working while maintaining a supportive organizational work environment. The New Working Paradigm is a way to match your organizational processes and redefine the relationship between employers and employees. Overall, the New Working Paradigm sets your organization up to become more resilient, purpose-driven and connected.

Why is the New Working Paradigm important/relevant?

Taking the example of hybrid work, employers and employees encounter several challenges. Employers want to their organizations to be an attractive place to work for their (future) employees, thereby ensuring they have the right people with the right skills. A more flexible way of working is often considered as a requirement by current employees and candidates on the labor market. Besides that, the flexibility that is associated with a hybrid work model makes it easier for employers to attract skilled employees from a wider geographical range.

Second, working flexibly regarding location and time enables organizations to work in a more efficient and effective way. This is because employees have more autonomy over when and where they can best do their work, resulting in higher employee satisfaction, productivity, and performance. Hence, this contributes to an engaged and empowered workforce.

How does the New Working Paradigm (not) work?             

Back to the start: The urgency of the pandemic forced companies to focus on setting up the digital workplace in a noticeably short time. Understandably, this often meant that there was no or little time to think about the organizational and people processes. While many organizations have made big leaps in designing their digital workplace, they often lack in matching the other aspects of the new working paradigm. Thus, they face a discrepancy between what they should do to make the New Working Paradigm successful and sustainable and what they were able to do so far. While with good intentions, the lack of alignment between the different aspects of the New Working Paradigm has burdened organizations with a productive but disengaged workforce, new digital solutions but a lack of digital skills to reap the benefits, and old offices that do not match the renewed employees’ way of working.

The New Working Paradigm is more than the decision of what the best digital collaboration tools are and how to furnish an office matching its new role. It’s also about empowering people to make conscious choices about how to leverage the given tools and locations. This requires aligning the new work model with an organization’s culture, engaging leadership with their New Working Paradigm and training people in the necessary skills – so that everyone is comfortable and able to make conscious choices about when, where, how and with whom to work.

At Capgemini we are here to help you out

We support your organization in developing a vision for the hybrid work model that fits the organization’s strategy, mission, goals, and market. A clear vision is the cornerstone of the transformation towards a new working paradigm because it provides the framework to mobilize the workforce, enable decision-making on each of the elements and communication. A vision entails having a clear idea of why you would like to implement hybrid work, knows what the expected benefits and challenges of a hybrid work model are; communicate this vision to employees and stakeholders, and have a plan of action to implement hybrid work across people, digital, and physical aspects. Your vision guides how the New Working Paradigm is shaped based on 4 critical elements:

  1. Organizational Design (primary focus): The new working paradigm has an impact on the target operating model. This needs to be redefined in terms of the hybrid workplace for teams. To support the delivery of the new target operating model, it is essential to identify the needed adaptations and the new rituals.
  2. Digital Leadership & Talent (primary focus): The hybrid model will impact the way leaders think and lead and the way work are conducted. Organizations enter in a new social contract supplying the right balance between performance, autonomy, benefits, and flexibility. The focus is on accelerating the needed new employee experience.
  3. Digital Workplace (supporting focus): In the new working paradigm, organizations need a digital workplace that enables seamless collaboration across locations. To achieve this, we combine three elements: virtual collaboration, augmented employee and connected office.
  4. Real Estate (supporting focus): In the new working paradigm, organizations redefine their real estate strategy and determine how different physical locations best support their employees in achieving their goals. The new trend will be reflected through new sites concepts based on digital evolution, lower density, and activity-based usages to support the increased temporary use.
overview of the 4 critical elements that build the New Working Paradigm
Fig: Overview of the 4 critical elements that build the New Working Paradigm

When helping our clients in shaping the New Working paradigm, we tailor the vision and four elements to the unique characteristics of the organization that we are facing: strategy, mission, goals, market, and culture, thereby defining a starting point and a future state. For this, we take a co-creation approach and, for example, conduct a vision workshop, create a roadmap based on the vision and discuss the internal processes and client processes. It all comes together in the new working paradigm covering the whole breadth of the organization.

Where can I start?

It may be clear that in today’s challenging professional environments, making bold decisions to design your new working paradigm for your organization is more important than ever. We have set up a quick scan to determine what is your starting point regarding the new working paradigm and how your journey towards a strong new working paradigm will look like (find the abbreviated version here). In case you would like to gain more insights into the new working paradigm and what it can mean for your people and organization explicitly, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our Capgemini colleagues mentioned below the blog.

Author

Freek Visser

Freek Visser

Consultant Organization, Purpose and Strategy, Capgemini Invent
Freek focuses as consultant Organization, Purpose and Strategy on projects related to personnel and organizational changes in the public sector. He helps organizations prepare, design and implement transformations and enjoys working together with the client to make an impact together. This also applies to Hybrid Work, as organizations recognize the need to respond to the new way of working and that a transformation to a Hybrid Work model is inevitable.

Judith Groenewoud

Judith Groenewoud

Consultant Organization, Purpose and Strategy, Capgemini Invent
As a consultant Organization, Purpose and Strategy, Judith helps organizations in private and public sectors to make the translation from strategy and objectives to a sound organizational structure and collaboration. Judith enjoys finding new ways to work smarter, more efficient, and innovative. This all comes together in her contribution to the new working paradigm, where she helps organizations to reach their full potential.

Dr. Julia Schlegelmilch

Dr. Julia Schlegelmilch

Managing Consultant Organization, Purpose and Strategy, Capgemini Invent

Julia is a hybrid work expert, providing evidence-based advice. She dares her clients to think further and inspires organizations, their leaders, and people to make conscious choices to effectively collaborate in a hybrid way. As a managing consultant Julia focuses on assignments related to hybrid work, organizational design, and leadership. Her PhD research about hybrid work (VU Amsterdam, 2020) and knowledge about organizational change and psychology complement her consultancy work at Capgemini Invent.

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