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New Work: new or old normal? – The modern working environment in public administration


24 Feb 2021




Social Europe & Jobs
Collaboration between EIPA, the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), and the University of the Federal Employment Agency (HdBA)

Event Description

In recent months, many organisations in business and administration have noticeably shifted away from a predominantly ‘presence culture’ toward more flexible working hours and working locations. A huge experimental space was created more or less overnight, offering more flexibility in terms of working time and working location thanks to new forms of collaboration and communication. During the coronavirus pandemic, public administration has also shown itself to be more agile and flexible than sometimes assumed.

With a view to employer attractiveness, a shift in values between generations and an emerging change in the world of work, flexible options for working hours and working locations as well as participatory forms of work with more personal responsibility are also an increasingly important incentive to attract and retain new talent for business and administration. The trending term in this context is ‘New Work’. Digitalisation and automation, which also necessitate changes in organisational culture, are only partial aspects of these discussions.

In an increasingly mobile working world, the elements needed to maintain performance in every organisation have been – and still are – trust in the employees, strength-based support for employees, and a clear goal focus from managers as the people shaping this change. Several studies are currently investigating the impact of mobile forms of work (e.g. home office) on various fronts, such as the design of digital collaboration, the role of digital leadership and culture, team performance and employee health. There is broad agreement that leadership and collaboration must change in order to be able to act successfully in the interests of stakeholders.

The pandemic has seen a huge increase in home office options – but have there been active efforts to update the organisational culture? The change in the world of work requires changes to attitudes, behaviour and values.

It is therefore important for public administration to position itself as a learning, resilient organisation. For example, we invite our guests to have a discussion, which should be as evidence-based as possible, on the following questions from the perspective of science and practice:

  • What will the future world of work look like? How should industrial relations and working conditions be shaped in the future, in reference to New Work?
  • How can the home office become a model for success? How can science help practice?
  • What does ‘new normal’ mean in this context? What would be the consequences of a complete return to the ‘old normal’?
  • How can we in public administration shape this process with all those involved? What is the role of human resources and how must it change?

Our guests:

  • Prof. Lutz Bellmann, Professor of Economics (focus on labour economics) at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg; Head of the research area ‘Companies and Employment’ at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB)
  • Ms Eileen Fuchs, Head of Unit DGI1 – Digital Policy Principles, EU and International Affairs at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI)
  • Mr Daniel Gerson, Head of Public Employment and Management Team, OECD
  • Prof. Florian Kunze, Professor of Organizational Studies, University of Konstanz
  • Prof. Ulrich Walwei, Deputy Director of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Member of the Council for the World of Work established by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Honorary Professor for Labour Market Research at the Institute of Economics and Econometrics at the University of Regensburg


This panel discussion will be held via Webex Meetings. Webex does not require an app to be downloaded and can be used directly via the web browser. The login information will be sent to the participants in time before the starting of the event. All presentations will be available after the event.


Dr Beatrix Behrens, Seconded Expert of EIPA, Head of Organisational Management at the University of the Federal Employment Agency

Target group

Practitioners from business and administration tasked with strategy and concept development or implementation; employees tasked with organisational and personnel development; members of interest groups; scientists and researchers; interested managers; human resources managers.