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New Work and occupational health management

May 16, 2024
Team of employees standing in the office. Everyone is happy about the team picture.

New Work is changing the requirements for occupational health management. Find out how in this article.

How does New Work influence the BGM?

New Work & occupational health management - Topic overview

What does New Work have to do with OHM?

This is New Work!

How does New Work influence OHM?

What does New Work have to do with OHM?

What do New Work and OHM have to do with each other? Both terms are currently very relevant to HR. New Work is a megatrend that affects all areas of a company and its employees and essentially simply describes a change. As a corporate division, occupational health management is naturally affected by this change and at the same time is one of the corporate divisions that can utilise this change in the company to gain a competitive advantage.

This is New Work!

What does New Work mean? New Work is a term coined by Prof Dr Frithjof Bergmann at the end of the 1970s. It describes the change in the world of work, i.e. a change in the status quo. The structural change that is taking place in the world of work today is largely driven by globalisation, digitalisation and a changing mindset that focuses more on people and their individual needs.

How does New Work influence OHM?

New Work means a change in the entire world of work. This affects work processes as well as the way we work together and identify with our job. Autonomy, personal development and participation in decision-making are at the centre of employees' concerns. This is particularly true for Generation Y, for whom the meaningfulness of work and participation in social and entrepreneurial decisions play an important role. This change in mindset and digital progress are leading to the following specific changes through New Work and in the occupational health management.

Work is becoming more decentralised but musculoskeletal and mental illnesses more likely

The workplace as a geographical location no longer plays a role in value creation in most professions. This means that employees can theoretically work together from anywhere in the world, without any physical proximity. This creates new challenges for occupational health management, as it is more difficult to reach employees with health programmes when they are working from home, for example. At the same time, however, demand is increasing because people are usually less active at home. On the one hand, this can be explained by the elimination of the commute to work. On the other hand, many small movement patterns such as walking to another office or taking a standing break to have a chat in the corridor are no longer possible. In addition, very few employees have an ergonomic workstation in their home office. The fact that work can be done from home also blurs the boundaries between private and professional life, increasing mental stress.

New Work leads to decentralisation of responsibility, bringing mental health into focus

New Work can mean that occupational health management has to deal more with mental stress. This is because employees are taking on more responsibility and are more frequently involved in decision-making. OHM managers must therefore endeavour to implement OHF measures that reduce stress in the workforce. This can be done, for example, by promoting physical activity.

New Work brings more flexible working time models and these require a flexible OHM

Nine-to-five was yesterday. Many employees prefer to decide for themselves when they want to work. This does not necessarily mean that they want to work less, but that they want more flexibility, for example to be able to better manage private tasks alongside their job. For OHM, New Work therefore also means that health promotion must be organised more flexibly in terms of time.

Job sharing & new focus increase the demand for BGM measures

Job sharing describes the possibility of two part-time employees sharing a full-time position. Depending on how often this occurs in a company, this can increase the demand for health services because there are more employees in the company with the same number of jobs. In addition, the topic of health and occupational health is becoming increasingly relevant for young people in particular. Companies must therefore look for more cost-efficient BGM measures look around.

In order to meet the requirements of New Work, new approaches are needed in occupational health management. Location-independent and time-flexible occupational health management measures are becoming indispensable. Companies will therefore have to focus more on digital healthcare solutions in the future. 

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