New Ways of Working : at any cost ?

Special Report, Working conditions

It has been almost a year since the NWOW (New Ways of Working) pilot project was launched despite the skepticism expressed by the vast majority of colleagues, based on inconclusive past experience. After hundreds of hours of work, meetings and participatory workshops, the staff has now discovered on a blog post that the GSC no longer has the means to achieve the ambitious objectives, which will therefore have to be scaled down. Is this serious? And are we to have “NWOW at any cost”? No one is really surprised, as the failure was predictable all along.

But what does NWOW mean ?

The literature suggested that NWoW has four core aspects: time and place independent working, managing results, access and connectivity to knowledge, and flexible employment relationships. The extent of use of these four aspects determines the intensity of NWoW within an organization. Employees and managers have to deal with mental changes, just like the ability to perform with NWoW. Especially the competencies that are necessary to perform successfully with NWoW. Performing successfully with NWoW can be defined as meeting the performance goals. These performance goals are work-life balance, overall productivity and commitment. The theory suggested that several employee and managerial competencies influence the relation between the intensity of NWoW and the performance goals. Employees are assumed to have competencies like empowerment, knowledge sharing among employees, and employees acceptance of IT. According to the theory the managerial competencies are individualized consideration, trust, empowerment impact, supporting employees’ acceptance of IT, supporting knowledge sharing among employees, and output control (Annemiek Lintelo, Master’s thesis “The new way of working”, August 2011).

Union Syndicale has a few more questions, though:

  • What are the real objectives?
  • How could the staff have been expected to be committed to such a huge project run in such a negligent way?
  • Who is responsible for wasting the resources spent on trying to convince staff that the project was in their interests?
  • And above all: why press ahead with this against all the evidence?

Union Syndicale calls for an immediate end to these New Ways of Wasting and for our resources to be allocated to serious matters, such as a high-quality refurbishment of the JL offices and full replacement of the outdated and dysfunctional “speedgates” in the LEX, in the interests of user safety.

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