Work makes sense with “Purpose” in combination with the modern way of working, “New Work’’. This is a topic that is becoming more and more interesting. But why is it so important that there is a purpose behind a company which is not maximising profits? And what’s wrong with “Old Work” anyway?
It is time to change something
Digitalisation is changing the way how we are work and will work in future. Many jobs no longer require people, and we are allowed to redesign work. Many people are looking for a job that fulfils demands and makes sense – because there will be enough robots for stupid tasks. Humanity and creativity will be important in the future.
Does that sound too good to be true? In fact, the transformation of the working world is already on its way, and some companies are showing how to do it. They have a meaningful corporate purpose, which is not the maximisation of profits, nonviolent communication, to solve tensions in open discussions and self-determined work.
Companies show how to do it
In this guest article, you can, therefore, learn more about New Work from a perfect model example, the purpose company soulbottles, and get an insight into their experience with it. Regardless, you are an entrepreneur or an employee – there are new approaches and opportunities for both sides to become successful with the latest possibilities of our time.
soulbottles founder is already a part of our green business interviews, giving you even more insight into the history of the company and the mindset.
If you have any questions on this topic or if you have already gained experience with New Work & Purpose, feel free to write about it in the comments!
Have fun while reading!
The purpose of companies
It is imperative for our society and our planet that the economy begins to take responsibility. Responsibility for ensuring that not only direct stakeholders benefit from a corporate model, but that all people on earth and our environment do. And related to that, the purpose of companies has a huge impact. Because they can generate profits and use them to get closer to their purpose, so you can quickly, actively, and purposefully bring change in the world.
What is “New Work”?
New Work refers to a way of working that focuses on independence, freedom, and participation.It means that classic hierarchies are broken down, and decision-making processes are found together. Employees are responsible for their time allocation, choose the location of their workplace and can initiate their projects.
It is no coincidence that this understanding of work fits many purpose companies. Because employees choose companies, whose purpose coincides with their visions, working together on a goal and having space for self-fulfilment means, on the one hand, a high level of employee satisfaction and on the other hand a great impact. In addition to the motivation for earning a salary, there is also personal motivation.
Experiences from practice
soulbottles has been a company with purpose from the start because the company was founded to achieve a vision: all people like to act in a socially and ecologically sustainable manner, consume without unnecessarily polluting the planet and have access to clean drinking water. That is why we are a certified purpose company, so we belong to ourselves and are legally bound to remain true to our vision. The company thus belongs to its employees, and this makes sense of a corporate structure in which everyone can have a say.
At soulbottles, we have chosen the form of holacracy, which primarily focuses on independent work and integrative decision-making. For this, areas of responsibility must be defined, and it is clear who is responsible for what. However, this assignment is dynamic and can be changed and adjusted by the employees.
Each employee fulfils one or more roles, and a role description specifies what the responsibility of this person is. In this area of responsibility, decisions are made independently and without a manager. If I want to change my role, i.e. give up tasks or gain rights, this can be done by an integrative decision.
An integrative decision also comes into play when several roles or the entire company are affected. A proposal is made, and this is examined integratively. So, no manager and no majority decides, but it always follows the motto “Does this bring us closer to our purpose?”, “Is it safe enough to try?” and “Are there valid objections to this?”
An example of such a suggestion would be our soulincubator. Because with our support program for start-ups that face the plastic crisis, we are getting significantly closer to our purpose. Or the suggestion that there is fresh vegan/vegetarian lunch for everyone every day – if around 50 people eat at least five vegetarian dishes a week, this saves a lot of CO2.
This type of work primarily requires good communication and constructive feedback culture in coordination processes. For this, we work with nonviolent communication. It does not mean that there are never conflicts. Rather, it creates a space in which tensions can be addressed openly because there is always growth potential in pressure, both for the company and on a personal level.
A basis of nonviolent communication is the distinction between emotion, need and strategy. Needs are universal and unpredictable – every person needs security, freedom, structure, etc. – but the approach to meet the needs and the emotions that arise from them differ from person to person. If I can recognise the need behind the emotion and strategy in a conflict situation, it is much easier for me to react to it.
For example, when someone says, “That we don’t have a fixed process for this situation worries me because my need for structure is not met.” instead of “you work too unstructured!” I can deal with it much better. I don’t feel personally attacked by the statement and can find a strategy that suits both of us.
A successful combination
The combination of self-ownership, holacracy and nonviolent communication creates a culture in which people can tackle things courageously and entrepreneurially. With this proactive and solution-oriented approach, we can reach as many people as possible in a positive way and bring them into contact with water and sustainability through soulbottles.
About the guest author
Eva Fischer has been working at soulbottles since August 2019, which was founded in 2012 as a social enterprise that produces sustainable, vegan and plastic-free drinking bottles. With these products, they encourage people to consume tap water instead of buying it in plastic bottles. This way, it is healthy, climate-friendly and saves a lot of plastic waste. In addition, €1 goes to Viva con Agua de Sankt Pauli e.V. for each soulbottle sold. The NGO implements drinking water projects in the global south, giving people access to clean drinking water.