New World of Working is forming online – International Social Listening Study Reveals Success Factors for "New Work" Strategies

The world of working has profoundly changed by Covid-19 – and future working conditions are among the most discussed topics on the World Wide Web, as a recent Horváth study based on a large-scale social listening project shows. From the beginning of 2020 to the end of March 2021, more than 2.9 million mentions and more than 17.8 million interactions on “New Work” topics were identified. The analysis provides valuable insights for developing strategies to face New Work challenges.

From the overall interactions, the following main topics can be identified as the most discussed: Organizational transformation, digitalization, specific employee challenges, (digital) education, sustainability, gender issues, racism, and transportation respectively pandemic-related challenges in logistics. The detailed results from the various topics provide companies with valuable advice on how to transform their work organization.

A large part of the discussions centers on the challenge to harmonize two aims: On the one hand, putting health and well-being of employees first, which requires flexibility to work remote at any time – and on the other hand, the need to find clear regulations on office, remote and hybrid working models. 4-day weeks and 6-hour days are also discussed in this context. The contributions point out concrete solutions and recommendations for the management as well as HR officers, and can be read in the full results report.

Advantages of remote work predominate disadvantages

Remote work is predominantly assessed as neutral to positive. In eight percent of the interactions, positive aspects are in the foreground, in three percent negative aspects. 89 percent of the contributions either contain outbalanced evaluations or no evaluations at all. Taking only original articles and mentions – without reactions and comments – there are even 17 percent positive mentions compared to two percent negative.

From the community's point of view, the advantages of remote working, apart from health prevention, are: more flexible working conditions for women and especially working mothers, better work-life balance, higher productivity, lower costs, the potential to attract skilled workers away from the company location, greater employer attractiveness for young people, and lower costs. Disadvantages or risks cited include social isolation, lower motivation, increased distraction, blurring of professional and personal boundaries, and digital or technical challenges, especially from older senders.

Robotics dominate technical discussion

In the area of digitization, the main focus is on certain technologies and their significance in the future world of work. By far the most frequently written and digitally discussed topic here is the use of robotics. More than 1.2 million interactions relate to this, and more than 220,000 individual posts were written about it. These are followed by: Big Data, cloud services and AI technologies.

Liveliest exchange on Twitter

In a comparison of all channels, the strongest discussion by far is on Twitter about what the world of work will look like in the future. Over 1.8 million Twitter posts were found on the defined topic area, which corresponds to 88 percent of all posts. This is followed by news sites, such as those of newspapers and magazines, blogs and forums. The international business network LinkedIn, which is increasingly making a name for itself as a content platform, only comes in fifth place in the analysis with 14,500 individual contributions and 0,7 percent of the "share of voice" in the topic area examined. More than 500,000 brands, companies and organizations were mentioned in the posts or were senders themselves. These include, for example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Visa, Uber, Microsoft, hp or Twitter itself.

New Work Discourse Is Male-Dominated

As the study further shows, the whole online discussion about the new world of working is predominantly led by men. Two-thirds of the posts and comments on "New Work" topics are by authors identifying themselves as male on their profiles respectively accounts. This ratio corresponds fairly close to the gender ratio of the Twitter usage worldwide. "The fact that men have a stronger influence on social discourses and thus on the topic of New Work, should definitely be taken into account when developing an organizational strategy. Especially with regard to gender-related working challenges, female perspectives should be systematically included," says Horváth expert and study director Vera Koltai. Gender-related working challenges are also the subject of lively discussions within the community. During the observation period over 774,000 interactions centered on this topic. Whether – in the long run – women will profit from increasing remote work or not, is not yet decided within online discussions.

About the study:

For the Horváth study "Future of Work", the Ynsight Research Institute collected online articles, social media posts and comment on the topic of the "New World of Working" as part of a large-scale global social listening project over the period January 2020 to March 2021. The data was collected across various sources, including news sources, blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media.