The Leap into the New Normal in Creative Work: A Qualitative Study of the Impact of COVID-19 on Work Practices in Industrial Companies

Oscar Pakos, Jana Walter, Marc Rücker, Kai-Ingo Voigt


For many employees, the COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated a move from centralized workplaces to full-time teleworking from home. As a catalyst for the virtualization of the working world, the pandemic has accelerated company transformation to digitalization and New Work. In a post-COVID-19 world, companies will face the challenge of combining virtual and physical working while offering employees an appropriate working infrastructure. However, the future consequences for work design remain unclear, as many companies are in a state of flux. The purpose of the present study was to develop an up-to-date overview of what this future New Normal might look like, and to expand existing knowledge in this regard. To that end, we conducted fifteen in-depth interviews with experts from German industrial companies. The findings identify four main areas of change at individual and team levels: the meaning of the work environment, collaboration, creative work, and the nature of future work. The results offer some profound insights into the field of design and virtualization in terms of working location, working time models, and the future of collaborative and creative work. The paper concludes with recommendations for practice and future research.

Keywords: New Work, COVID-19, Physical Work Environment, Collaboration, Creativity, Digital Trans-formation, New Normal

DOI: 10.7176/EJBM/13-10-01

Publication date:May 31st 2021

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