New Work Glossary

New Work describes a new understanding of work in the age of globalisation and digitalisation. It gives rise to new forms and models of work. An overview of the most important terms and trends from the world of New Work.

Agile management

Agile management or agile working originates from software development and describes a (collaborative) way of working that is based on adaptability and speed and ideally involves a high degree of self-organisation in cross-functional teams with shared responsibility. The work is typically organised in short, iterative development cycles that allow the process to be readjusted and is carried out by a heterogeneous team with clear roles. Agile management has proven itself as a working method, particularly for very complex problems, not least because it enables a high level of customer focus and flexibility. Examples of agile methods include modern approaches and principles of project management such as SCRUM, Kanban or design thinking (see below).


The term backlog is an integral part of agile working methods. In agile work, the backlog is the collection of work packages and projects that need to be completed but are temporarily parked due to their lower priority so that they can be processed at a later date. The term originally comes from the IT sector and the Scrum organisational system.


Employee benefits - also known as employee perks or corporate benefits - are voluntary perks and benefits that employers grant their employees in addition to their salary. These employee benefits are usually part of the overall employee remuneration and motivation package and are intended to promote employee satisfaction, well-being and loyalty.

Employee benefits are organised in different ways and cover various areas of employees' lives, including health, pension, working hours, training, food, childcare and mobility.


In the work context, bottom-up means that employees have more freedom to make decisions and do not have to ask their superiors for permission on all issues - as is normally the case in top-down organisations.

Corporate Health

Health management has become increasingly important in companies in recent years and goes far beyond accident prevention, company doctors and ergonomic workplaces.

Issues such as stress, overwork, burnout, physical and psychological complaints are summarised under the term corporate health and have become a strategic management task. After all, health care is no longer an individual matter when it comes to ensuring performance at work.

Co-working spaces

Co-working spaces are shared offices where self-employed people or project teams can rent temporary workspaces. These spaces are often more than simple workplaces and serve as places where people can make connections and exchange ideas, as employees from different organisations come together in co-working spaces. This often results in synergies, as not only rooms but also infrastructure, equipment and tools are utilised. Many co-working spaces are also actively engaged in creating a community and offer events, training and other services for members.

Design sprint

The design sprint is an agile method from (digital) product development that was developed by Google Ventures. Within a five-day sprint, new product ideas are designed, a prototype is developed and tested. The method combines approaches from the fields of strategy, innovation and design thinking, among others.

Design thinking

Design thinking is a systematic approach to finding creative solutions to complex problems.

In contrast to traditional approaches to problem solving, this method is customer-centred, iterative and action-oriented using creative techniques. The design thinking process is started based on the needs and wishes of the users. Ideas and solutions are presented as prototypes as early as possible so that potential users can test them and provide feedback long before they are launched on the market.

Desk sharing

Desk sharing is a working model that is often used in companies where there are fewer workstations than employees - or that can be used when the majority of employees work remotely or in hybrid mode and therefore not everyone in the team needs a workstation on site. Desk sharing allows workstations to be shared so that no employee has a fixed workstation.

Digital transformation

Digitalisation is omnipresent and encompasses the increasing use of digital technologies and processes in private areas and in the corporate context. The resulting changes are referred to as digital transformation.


Disruption describes changes or innovations that replace the success of existing technologies, products or services or even completely displace them from the market. Disruptive business models therefore stand for new business models or practices that replace or displace old and proven ones. They can provide a boost to innovation and reshape entire industries.

Employee lifecycle

The employee lifecycle describes a model from the HR sector and is intended to depict the entire journey of an employee in the company, and thus the individual phases that employees go through in the company. Each phase brings with it different expectations, challenges and tasks, both for the company and the employees.

With the help of Employee Lifecycle Management, companies can ensure that the needs of employees are the focus at all times and that employee satisfaction is maintained in order to minimise fluctuation within the company. Ultimately, employee lifecycle management also has direct benefits for the company. Satisfied, healthy employees are more productive and are characterised by a higher level of commitment. Lower staff turnover also reduces recruitment costs, as positions need to be filled less frequently.

There are up to seven phases in the employee lifecycle:

  1. Attraction
  2. Recruiting
  3. Onboarding
  4. Development
  5. Retention
  6. Offboarding & Exit
  7. Alumni
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Employer branding

Employer branding is a strategy used by companies to build a strong employer brand through targeted measures. Companies usually use various marketing concepts to build their employer brand in order to create a positive corporate image in the public eye and present themselves as an attractive employer with the aim of recruiting employees more effectively and retaining them in the long term, thereby ultimately achieving economic benefits for the company.


Empowerment is a trend in modern companies to discover unused skills of their own employees and to promote their personal and professional development with the help of training and further education, among other things with the aim of effectively countering the shortage of skilled labour and retaining employees in the company.

Fix desk

In co-working spaces, a fixed desk is a workstation that is permanently booked by one person and to which only that person has access. Fixed desks are therefore similar to traditional office workstations and can be located in open areas of a co-working space or in lockable rooms.

Flex commuting

Flex commuting is a new mobility trend and describes the fact that more and more employees are looking for alternatives to commuting by car. One promising approach to rethinking mobility on the way to work is the mobility budget.

Flex desk

The flex desk workplace concept means that employees no longer have a fixed workstation, but instead a desk is available to several employees (desk sharing). The flex desk model is primarily used in co-working spaces, but is also increasingly being used in companies, as the increase in hybrid working means that not every employee needs their own personal desk in the office. Employees can move to any workstation depending on their needs and the utilisation of the office. A flex desk policy is often also introduced, which obliges employees to spend a certain proportion of their working time in the office. Flex desk software can also be used to better organise and manage offices and workstations and to promote collaboration within the company.

Four-day workweek

The four-day workweek is a much-discussed new working time model in which people work four days for the same salary. The introduction of a four-day week can have positive effects on the health and work-life balance of employees as well as the productivity of companies.

Home office

Colloquially, the term "home office" is usually understood to mean the workplace in one's own home. However, the term home office does not exclusively refer to a home office, but to an overarching organisational approach in which the place and time of work are chosen flexibly.

Hot desk

Hot desking, also referred to as flex desking, is an office organisation concept designed to replace the conventional fixed workstation: Employees choose a new desk every day or share a desk with other employees at different times. Incidentally, the term originates from naval history: marines in the US Navy shared sleeping berths - called 'hot bunking' - while one person worked, the other could relax in the bunk.

Hybrid working

Hybrid working is a working model in which employees no longer spend every day in the office, but work partly in the office and partly outside the office, for example from home. The home office is just one possible alternative to the office.

Job sharing

The term job sharing refers to working models in which two (or more) part-time employees share a full-time position in tandem. They define tasks, areas of responsibility and working hours flexibly between themselves and thus jointly fulfil the contractually agreed total working hours. Job sharing is possible at any level and can be useful at all levels, but is mainly used when a position always needs to be filled (demanding expert positions) or for positions with management responsibility (also known as "top sharing").


Kanban is an agile visualisation method for work processes that is designed to help visualise tasks, including responsibilities and processing status. The work tasks are divided into three categories: "to be completed", "in progress" and "done". This is intended to make work processes transparent and provide an overview of responsibilities.

New Work

New Work describes a new understanding of work and the world of work in the age of globalisation and digitalisation. The core values of this new world of work are freedom, independence and participation in the community. A pronounced work-life balance through flexible working models and independent working as well as more freedom of choice for employees are increasingly taking centre stage. New Work therefore has an impact on the choice of work locations as well as working hours. Practical examples of new ways of working include terms such as remote work, workation (combining work and holidays), the four-day week and co-working spaces.

Objectives and key results (OKR)

Companies use OKR for targeted and focussed work. Both goals (objectives) and suitable control parameters (key results) are formulated. Compared to other target systems, when working with OKRs, targets are set for short cycles - for example on a monthly or quarterly basis - in order to increase focus.

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People and culture

There is much more to employees than just mere manpower. For this reason, people and culture is now replacing the old term "human resources" in many companies. Companies want to show that they want to move away from a mechanistic view of people and put people at the centre of the organisation.


Purpose is becoming increasingly important for young employees professionally, as pure profit-orientation is no longer enough for young talents. They want to work in a company that creates social and/or ecological added value. Behind the purpose is a deeper "why", with which one's own actions are scrutinised. In the corporate context, purpose describes the meaning and purpose of a company or the goal of an organisation. It thus forms a unifying element for all employees and should provide orientation for the direction of products and activities.

Quiet quitting

Quiet quitting is a new trend in the world of work that emphasises the fact that the world of work is undergoing radical change. Quiet quitting literally translates into German as "silent resignation". In fact, however, it is not about quitting your job, but rather describes what is also understood by the term "work by the book".

Under the buzzword quiet quitting, sometimes also referred to as soft quitting, young people show on social media that they refuse to work unpaid overtime and additional tasks or go the extra mile. Instead, they only do what is agreed in their employment contract. This shows that the relationship between job seekers and jobs has shifted, as has the value placed on work and private life. For young employees, a good work-life balance and personal well-being are more important than work.

Remote work

Remote work is basically any form of work that is not performed in the company's office. This can be your own home (home office), a café or any other third place, such as a beach lounger or mountain hut during the workation. In addition to the location component, there is also a time component. Remote work does not necessarily have to take place in the traditional '9-to-5' timeframe. Rather, remote workers distribute their working hours flexibly throughout the day.

Remote First company

Remote First is a corporate strategy in which most or all employees work outside the office. Employees are therefore free to choose where they do their work from. In contrast to fully decentralised or purely remote companies, remote-first companies have a physical location for employees who need or prefer a traditional office space. However, the majority of employees usually work outside the company office. This allows companies to benefit from flexibility in their recruitment process, as employees and companies do not necessarily have to be in the same location, which expands the candidate pool many times over.


Scrum is one of the best-known agile approaches and has its origins in software development. It is a framework for work and project management in which projects are organised in so-called sprints, i.e. self-contained project cycles with predefined work and task packages. Based on external requirements, sprints are planned by the team members on an almost equal footing and roles are allocated, the work is realised in a sprint and the results are jointly evaluated and conclusions are drawn. After each sprint, the team decides whether or not a further sprint should take place.


Teleworking workstations are workstations permanently set up by the employer in the employee's private area. Employers agree a fixed weekly teleworking time with their employees, i.e. the weekly working time that is not spent in the company office. There are three different forms of teleworking:

  • Telecommuting: Employees work from home on a permanent basis.
  • Alternating teleworking: Regularly switching between the office and home office.
  • Mobile teleworking: Employees work neither in the office nor from home, but in a mobile office or at a third place.

Third places

The third place is a place that is used alongside the first place (home) and second place (work, office) for work or business interactions. This can be work in cafés, museums, parks or libraries, directly on site at the customer's premises or in shared spaces with partners and other stakeholders.


The acronym VUCA is made up of the terms volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity and serves as a description of a multifaceted world that seems difficult to predict and plan for. This feeling is caused by the complex environmental changes taking place, which in turn exert pressure for change on our working world. The main reasons for this pressure to change are the ongoing digitalisation (digital transformation) and a shift in social values, which are shaping our current world and presenting it with new challenges.


The portmanteau word workation is made up of the two terms "work" and "vacation" and expresses the active combination of work and holiday, as a workation is intended to enable employees to combine work and holiday at a location of their choice. In practice, this means that the place of work is moved to the holiday location.

Working Out Loud

Working Out Loud (WOL) is a working method that aims to make your own work visible by sharing important findings with others. It is about not only accumulating knowledge, but also making it public and developing it further with the aim of completing tasks more easily and working in a more self-organised way. The Working Out Loud method is usually implemented in small groups of four to five people over a period of twelve weeks (WOL Circle).

Work-life balance

Work-life balance means a harmonious balance between professional and private life. The aim is to create a balance between professional obligations, private matters and periods of relaxation. The individual areas do not necessarily have to be balanced. It is up to employees to find a work-life balance that they are happy with and that ensures a balanced lifestyle. The topic of work-life balance has become established in companies in recent years as part of New Work. In addition to setting up working models such as home office or remote work, employers can strengthen their own employer branding by focussing on the work-life balance of their employees.

Work-life blending

In contrast to work-life balance, work and leisure time are no longer clearly separate areas in work-life blending, but merge seamlessly into one another. This should not only allow more freedom and flexibility, but also self-determined working with the aim of making better use of productivity phases. This is to be achieved through smart home office models and mobile office solutions.

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Stefan Wendering
Stefan is a freelance author and editor at NAVIT. Previously, he worked for startups and in the mobility sphere. He is an expert in urban and sustainable mobility, employee benefits, and New Work. In addition to creating blog content, he also produces marketing materials, taglines, and website content, as well as case studies.
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