New ways of working:
Challenging the status quo

In the last decades, work has changed very little. Of course, the industrial revolution and the rise of the computer and internet have caused shifts, but the gist of it is still pretty similar to the ’60s or ‘70s. Office workers go to work behind a desk, from 9 to 5 with some holidays. The pressure is on, but there is relief in the form of some vacation days. And salary, of course. You report to a manager and when you do well, you get promoted. Eventually, you may become that manager. Luckily, a lot of organizations are embracing new ways of working.

New ways of working: challenge the status quo

Finally, the traditional 9-to-5 office model is (slowly) evolving into more flexible and diverse ways of working. Honestly, it was about time. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this shift. Although most of us suffered from the lockdowns, all of a sudden flexibility in the corporate world was turned up a notch. Remote work was enabled, which helped to see the benefits of new ways to work.

Post-pandemic, hybrid work has been implemented in many organizations. As you know, it combines in-office and remote work. It gives employees the flexibility to work from different locations and mostly on their own schedule, catering to individual needs and preferences. Research suggests that hybrid work models are here to stay. Many employees prefer them over fully on-site or fully remote models. For businesses, it means that overhead costs go down, as less office space is often sufficient. Also, there’s less travel costs to cover. And of course, job satisfaction goes up. Not unimportant.

Remote work is another new(ish) way of working. This model allows employees to work from anywhere, using digital tools for collaboration and communication. While remote work can offer greater flexibility and work-life balance, it also requires careful management to ensure productivity and maintain team cohesion. You love or hate it, but with the proper (digital) infrastructure, it can be a huge success. Some organizations don’t even have offices at all anymore.

Away with hierarchy: models for new ways of working

Another new way of working is very close to our hearts. It’s the bossless or flat organizational model. In this model, decision-making power is distributed among teams or roles rather than concentrated in a single manager or leader. There is no pyramid org chart, most layers of middle management disappear completely. This creates a sense of ownership and autonomy among employees, but it also requires a high level of trust and effective communication throughout the whole organization.

Other ways of working that are relatively new, and aren’t centered around hierarchy:

Holacracy

Holacracy is a decentralized management model where authority is distributed throughout self-organizing teams. It emphasizes clear roles, efficient meetings, and a decision-making process where everyone can propose changes.

Teal

Teal organizations operate with self-management, where everyone contributes based on their unique potential. There’s no traditional management hierarchy. Instead, decision-making power is distributed among teams. Or at least, that’s how teal was set out, some organizations have only partially adopted the model.

Agile

Agile is a project management and product development approach that focuses on delivering value to the customer faster and with fewer bumps in the road. It’s about being nimble (well, agile) with teams that can make decisions and collaborate. The circles are tight and there is a lot of feedback, as well as continuous development.

Scrum

Scrum is a subset of Agile and is a lightweight process framework for agile development, and the most widely-used one. It is a management framework that teams use to self-organize whilst they work towards a common goal.

Each of these models has its strengths and challenges. Their effectiveness can depend on various factors such as the nature of the work, the company culture, and the individual preferences of team members.

Why are new ways of working important?

Embracing new ways of working is not just a trend, it’s becoming a necessity. This shift is driven by several factors, including the need for a better work-life balance, the desire for a greater sense of purpose in our work, and the need to prevent burnout.

Work-life balance is crucial for maintaining our physical and mental health. Research has shown that overwork isn’t good for employees or their companies. In fact, a survey from 2023 found that 22% of employees in the United States rated their current level of burnout as high or very high.


Having a sense of purpose in our work is also increasingly important. In fact, we could argue that a lack of purpose led to the 'Great Resignation'. This is the period after COVID when the resignation rate in the US was incredibly high. 

At Corporate Rebels, we’ve seen firsthand how organizations that prioritize purpose and employee well-being are more successful and resilient. In the face of these challenges, new ways of working offer a solution. They lead to more job satisfaction, less turnover, more innovation, and — in the end — more success. Just look at our list of pioneers for inspiration.

Change the status quo, together with us

These new ways of working all have their pros and cons. However, just challenging the status quo resonates with us, at Corporate Rebels. We are dedicated to making work more fun and bringing purpose back to the work floor. Our mission is to help organizations and individuals create more engaging, innovative, and fulfilling work environments.

This is where new ways of working come into play. With a top-down hierarchy, it is very difficult to have true employee engagement. Autonomy comes from self-management, from being able to set your own course. As part of a team, of course. That is why flatter organizations, in whichever way, shape, or form, are what we advocate for.

We draw inspiration from a diverse group of pioneers, rebels, and revolutionaries who are challenging the traditional ways of working. These pioneers include organizations, entrepreneurs, academics, and business leaders who are creating more enjoyable and effective workplaces.

In addition to our bucket list and blogs, we offer comprehensive courses through the Corporate Rebels Academy. These courses provide practical insights and tools to help you transform your organization. You can do them online, as a base to start with the transformation of your organization.

We think it’s time for a world where everyone has the freedom to dream, improve, innovate, and be creative at work. Are you with us?

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