How to Stay Fit for the Modern Working World

More flexibility, more mobility, more diversity. What skills do we need to keep pace with change?

Digitization, more and more service activities, increasing online activity, working at home or on the road. Prof. Dr. Hartmut Schulze is an occupational psychologist and lecturer at the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW (University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland) and knows that all these factors place new demands on working people: "Work is becoming more varied, but also more demanding. And we often have to decide under which external conditions we want to carry out an activity," he explains.

Skills for Mobile-flexible Working

To work happily and productively in a mobile-flexible environment, you need these new competencies:

Spatial competence

Spatial competence means finding the right place for an activity. Where can I do the next task particularly well? Do I want to work among people, does the hustle and bustle of an open-plan office or a café inspire me? Or do I need a space without sources of disturbance for concentrated work?

Boundary competence

Work and privacy are less easily separated in many flexible work models. The reasons for this are blurring spatial boundaries and constant electronic accessibility. Boundary competence means finding the right way to deal with one's various roles.

Focus competence

Working in different environments can be stimulating, but also holds a lot of potential for distraction. The same applies to digital communication channels in organizations. Focus competence means consciously deciding when and what to be distracted by – and when and why not.

"Work is becoming more varied, but also more demanding. And we often have to decide under which external conditions we want to perform an activity."

Hartmut Schulze Occupational psychologist and lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland

Implementation Takes Practice

Some of these points come more easily to us, others can take some getting used to. For example, while many people develop a certain spatial competence relatively quickly, the focus competence is more challenging: Distractions are a nuisance for productivity, but they also have positive effects. Indeed, they can be interesting, educational, or entertaining, and can even advance work.

One strategy may be to disable electronic notifications during periods of concentrated work. Or, conversely, to consciously allow oneself exchanges and distractions during other times, so that the hunger for variety is satisfied before working on the important presentation.

Self-management as a Training Topic

The competence fields mentioned can also be summarized under the term self-management. It's best to approach the matter in a structured way. We will help you with this. In the training program of Employees Switzerland you will find many suitable offers with which you can acquire the competencies for the modern working world.

Even if your working environment is not yet as mobile and flexible as in other companies: Consciously addressing these competencies will help you to cope with many current and future challenges better and with greater satisfaction.


Hansjörg Schmid

Hansjörg Schmid