Unternehmen & Trends 1/2024

32 Are you still working – or are you already living? By Gero Brinkbäumer, COSMO CONSULT Group The German word “Arbeit” is derived from the Germanic “arbaiþi”, which means hardship. Makes sense, one might think. But we could also ask ourselves: why doesn‘t “work” come from “fun”? Of course, this has to do with the history of work. For most people over the centuries, work has meant hard physical labour to maintain their own lives. In fact, technical achievements have not changed this significantly. Even the industrial revolution with its enormous machines did not eliminate hard labour, but only made it a phenomenon for the masses. Today, it is impossible to imagine a world without work. Furthermore, there is still a widespread belief that work means hardship. After all, you don‘t go to work for fun, do you? A quick change of subject: What is your company like when it comes to personnel – do you find it easy to inspire and retain young talent in the long term? If so, your company belongs to the lucky minority. Manpower shortages and so-called staff turnover are widespread phenomena. The reasons for this are hotly debated in politics and society. What can be identified with some certainty, however, is that young people today have different aspirations for their work. In this context, for example, the working environment plays an important role. But also the much talked about mindset: young talents want to develop themselves at work, bring their own ideas to the table and achieve something meaningful. Is this really new though? Or just the enthusiasm of every young generation? One thing is certain: if we follow the motto “it‘ll sort itself out”, then we won‘t be able to solve the acute problem with recruiting. What is probably more serious, however, is that this will only exacerbate the problem. Obviously, something else has changed that has nothing to do with the classic generational problem. This thing goes deeper, is more far-reaching and has the potential to cause major upheavals in the economy and society – it is our concept of work itself. We are living in revolutionary times To understand how this came about and what it means, we need to look at the changes that have taken place in a relatively short space of time – roughly over the last 25 years. That this period of time corresponds to a generational change is not insignificant, but more on that later. This quarter of a century has completely changed the complexion of our world. Digital technologies have developed rapidly and have penetrated deep into all areas of life. Not only a few people are even talking about a digital “revolution”. A term that has some merit when you see how large, long-established industrial groups are being pushed out of the way by internet start-ups. As is usual with revolutions, the associated changes have very far-reaching consequences and they go deep into the heart of the matter. Many companies have reacted Image: © LAYHONG/stock.adobe.com