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Oct 29 2018

Questions for Mr. Große-Gung, CEO neueRäume 

New Work also brings with it changes to our work environments. During ORGATEC we spoke with Jochen Große-Gung, CEO of neueRäume, about the transformation in our understanding of the value of collaboration, a new level of connecting at the workplace, and the opportunities and risks of digitalised work environments.

Jochen Große-Gung is 60 years-young and founder of neueRäume. He has been active in the industry for more than 35 years now and gathers experiences of how people experience well-being in rooms. "Listen" and "understand" is his motto. We had the chance to ask him somequestions.

According to a recent Forsa survey of 1,000 employees, every second employee would decide in favour of the workplace with the better equipment, even when other offers would mean better pay. What is your explanation for this?

This can be explained by the transformation in the values of young employees in particular: extrinsic motivators like money or status symbols are decreasing in importance all the time. People are looking for meaning in their work, and would in this way like to make a contribution to the company, but also to society, despite lower pay.

Modern work environments with flexible work models and methods are much better suited to this new set of values.
Among other aspects, they also make sense from an economic perspective: in addition to the challenge of establishing a strong employer brand, the requirements for the development of innovation and project work are also increasing for companies. Modern office usage strategies come into play directly here, and thus decisively characterise the success of the company – I'm certain of this.

Keyword "New Work": Where might or must something change today with regard to classic office solutions?

Everybody understands something different under "New Work". Companies should first establish a cohesive understanding of what the term means for their own organisation.
Today we understand the workplace as a complete system, as a social construct, and not as a physical place. In it, spatial and material factors interact with organisation culture, social relationships and technologies. Trends include, among others, collaboration instead of separation, a move away from routine toward creativity and interdisciplinary teamwork. Accordingly, it is more important today than ever before to create a new quality of encounters, to incorporate participants into processes, in order to ultimately allow for an inspiring environment for staff, customers and other stakeholders.

How do companies even determine that it's time to redesign the work environment?

One has to consider organisations according to their individual state of development. Principally, we have experienced that company groups are more open-minded than classic, medium-sized companies. For us, however, there are the most varied starting points: when innovation themes become important for strategic planning, modern workplace concepts quickly find their place on the agenda. Not seldom, but only when, for example, important positions can no longer be adequately filled: keyword shortage of skilled labour. A volatile subject for any company. There is also an increasing consciousness for using space as efficiently as possible. Space, especially in the top city centre locations, is a significant cost factor. Important is that work environments are perceived at the highest decision-making levels as productivity drivers and a factor in effectiveness. In this change process we currently spend a lot of our time convincing, but also provide assistance. So, the earlier we get involved in a project, the better. Not least in order to also point out preventive possibilities.

Rapid technical developments open up new freedoms with regard to the design of the active workspace, but also involve risks. What is your opinion on the subject of digitalised working worlds?

Global networking and disruptive technologies mean the merging of work and living space, and burst structures of both time and place. This leads to entirely new dimensions with regard to flexibility, performance capability and efficiency. However, it also creates space for conflicts.
We are currently experiencing very clearly that we need to deal with constant accessibility and increasing pressure with sensitivity. Here we hear a clear appeal to companies to create the basic conditions and space for regeneration areas. We are still behind the times here in Germany in this regard.
However, one thing is certain: the office as we know it will remain, because human beings are social creatures and require community and a place for the personal exchange of ideas.

What tips can you provide for achieving clear successes with only minor adjustments in the work environment and with limited resources?

It may sound banal, but here you should move within your company with open eyes and ears and talk to your team. What moves your employees? What does cooperation currently look like? Does the exchange and transfer of knowledge really work? Which areas are frequented, and how?
Conditions are often seen as a given due to organisational blindness.
Even small optimisations like privacy shields, improved acoustics and optimised lighting conditions can do a lot.
Consider your work environments holistically, from an interdisciplinary perspective and with a view to the future. It is better to move forward with small steps than to stand still. Your team will thank you and demonstrate this with success.




by Asil Büro Mobilya Imalat ve Tic. Ltd. Sti. / Eksen Office Furniture


by Tosunogullari A.S. (Burotime)
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