The New Work Awards, initiated by XING, honour outstanding projects and ideas that pioneer the world of work. Out of over 130 applications, a jury of experts shortlisted six promising initiatives per category. In a last step the public chose with over 50.000 votes cast which company and project impressed them most. The Wuppertal-based booking agency music4friends placed third after industry giants TSystems (2nd) and MAN (1st) in the category ‘Established Company’. They were awarded for a project called “Trainees being Boss”.
Hello Sascha! You’ve just come back from Hamburg, looking happy and slight tired: „We were super happy when we were nominated for the NEW WORK AWARD and we knew straight away that we wanted to travel to Hamburg with the team to take part at the ceremony. On the one hand we wanted to participate at the NWX Congress and let us be inspired by key-notes from Richard David Precht, Götz Werner or Anselm Grün. On the other hand, this was the ideal occasion to thank the whole team: so we were sure to have good time anyway. Being award recipients definitely put the icing on the cake!”
You were honoured for your experiment „Trainees being Boss“, where your trainees took over the roles of you and your executive partner for a month time. Is that New Work?: „It’s part of it. We loved the idea and wanted to experience it. What would each of us learn in terms of leadership, responsibilty and eye-levels? And we actually enjoyed it so much that we are currently preparing to repeat the experiment with our current juniors Marnie and Darlene.”
Most of the big companies – like T-Systems and MAN in your category – are pushing the development of “new work”. Is that a hype? : “The term ‘new work’ is definitely mentioned a lot lately and it’s still quite a loose concept. For us, though, the term itself was never of any importance. It was more about the motivation: how do you create a framework that includes all team members and their enjoyment of the work they do? What does it mean for workspace to simultaneously be living space and how does it allow personal growth? And what do keen, self-reliant workers need to stay on board? I think for one, stability and reliabilty are key aspects (and therefore success as well!). On the other hand, giving new approaches a go and playing with new ideas is a huge part of New Work too.”
Apart from “Trainees being Boss”, did you try any other approaches?:
Most of us have family: that’s why we care a lot about flexible working hours (as well as having additional off-days that everyone can take when need be). Moreover we’re making use of location-independent work (thanks to the technical developments) as each of us can set up their office with smartphone, laptop and data-cloud wherever they might be. That’s something we’re definitely used to by now.
We also cut down our meeting schedules, leaving mondays and tuesdays completely meeting-free, so we can solely focus on our customers.
Last but not least, we’re currently taking first steps to incorporating the famous SCRUM-method for new band projects. Originating in software development, we’re playing with the concept, keeping ideas we like and that work for us!
What do you take back to Wuppertal from the New Work Award?:
The stunning trophy has found its place of honour in the office kitchen and represents our fantastic office team as well as all the hard-working and talented crew of musicians, DJs and technicians behind us. Without their dedication and outstanding ideas we would not even be close to being as successful as we currently are.
Götz Werner, founder of the drugstore-chain DM, said during the NWX: „We have three types of customers. Our employees, our clients & our suppliers” – that reflects our mindset regarding the people we work with in the most wonderful way. Many years ago we dedicated ourselves to the motto “happy artists – enthusiastic customers” and for them there is always new work to do!