Von der leyen: digital working world requires new concepts

Von der leyen: digital working world requires new concepts

Federal labor minister ursula von der leyen (CDU) called for central values of the working world, such as co-determination, to be transferred to digital forms of organization. "Work is moving out of the offices and into the digital cloud," von der leyen told the weekly newspaper "die zeit" at the conference. Work is increasingly no longer distributed to permanent employees within the company, but is offered worldwide on a project basis, sometimes for just a few hours, sometimes for a few years. "You’re built into a team that is random and global."

Companies that saw such flexible working models only as a way to cut costs quickly became the losers in the digital world of work, said the politician. The winners were those who were able to make the basic principle of the internet, participation, tangible in the organization of the digital world of work.

Mobile devices with constant connectivity accelerate the dissolution of boundaries between work and leisure, von der leyen said, and warned of negative consequences: "burnout is not a technical term, it is a very vivid term that describes exactly what is happening."This should not be dismissed as a fad. Every year, 53 million sick days in germany are due to mental illnesses. This represents an economic loss of eight billion euros. "This is a tangible factor, this is not a mood disorder."

The labor minister therefore called on the conference participants to develop "a completely new understanding of leadership" and to "translate the values that have made us strong into the digital world". This also includes a virtual we-feeling, because "there are no coffee cakes in the cloud".

"We’re just starting to get new opportunities," said former sap executive board spokesman henning kagermann. With the networking between companies, new creative business processes could be developed. The chairman of telefonica deutschland, rene schuster, promoted the opportunities of self-reliance, quoting the slogan: "if you have a brain, you are a startup". The future of work is digital and mobile: "in the future, we will work when and where we want to."

Thomas schroder of microsoft’s business unit in germany, referring to the u.S.’S comprehensive reform program of the 1930s, spoke of a "new deal for the digital age," explaining that "for the digital workplace to be a benefit to companies and employees, there needs to be a balance between technology and human demands."

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