Digitalisation is insinuating its jargon into our language. Some of it may require explanation, especially when standard English words acquire different meanings. This glossary provides clarity about the terms used in our articles.

  • Co-working is one development in the new work field, where freelancers, creatives and smaller start-ups work in communal offices that offer mutually beneficial possibilities. The focus is on working together and sharing knowledge. Although people operate independently in separate companies and projects, they may also cooperate on certain projects as a joint effort. Large companies that adopt coworking similarly expect to see greater innovative force, stronger employer branding and, in the long term, lower overheads. For SMEs, coworking envisions flexibility and agility.

  • Coworking spaces are offices where freelancers and small teams rent temporary working space. Infrastructure (network, printers, scanners, faxes, telephones, video projectors, meeting rooms) is made available for a defined hire period. The spaces pursue a goal of a tenant community that is reinforced through joint events, workshops and other activities. Nevertheless, utilisation is always non-binding and flexible in terms of time.

  • Desk sharing is a form of organisation where an organisational unit (company, division, department) has fewer workplaces than employees. Employees are free to choose “their” workplace on a day-to-day basis. Desk sharing is linked to the goal of making optimum use of office space and reducing costs.

  • A term to describe someone belonging to the generation that grew up with the accoutrements of the digital world – the laptop, smartphone and tablet. This is a generation adept at handling the latest digital technologies. The antonym is digital immigrant, meaning someone who only grew acquainted with this world in adulthood.

  • Flexible serviced workplaces provide variously dimensioned areas, from multiple to single spaces. These enable maximum flexibility in terms of size, location and duration of use, thus avoiding overheads and unused space. IT support, office furniture, meeting rooms and other services are all provided.

  • Synonym for gig economy.

  • The workplace of the future is about more than a place of work. The focus is on the needs of employees: what environment do they need to work at their best? It’s about flexibility, mobility and individuality.

  • The gig economy (from gig meaning a one-night show) refers to a new form of economy in which people earn their living from fulfilling small tasks or temporary assignments. Examples include Uber drivers, copywriters and graphic artists. An online platform is often the intermediary between customer and contractor.

  • New work in the broadest sense means “the working world of the future”. It is a many-faceted notion that originates from the Austro-American philosopher Frithjof Bergmann. The term has arisen in the wake of globalisation and digitalisation and their impacts on the world of work. Bergmann refers to a particular type of work considered as meaningful by those performing it. This abstract understanding of pleasurable and deeply fulfilling work has been carried over into the real world of work.

  • Synonym for co-working spaces.

  • Open office is a concept synonymous with the open-plan office: an expanse of floorspace containing a large number of office workplaces, ten at least, with floor areas starting at 400 m2.

  • An transient, interim retail business operating temporarily in vacant premises. The range of goods on offer is usually similar to that of a boutique, but can also be akin to a warehouse sale.

  • In the serviced office, operating aspects become totally outsourced: an external operator provides furniture, infrastructure and IT as a service. The company using such an office, however, stays put in its own premises.

  • Occasionally share economy, this is a term centred around co-utilisation of resources: cars, apartments, power tools and material goods are generally borrowed among community members with or without remuneration. It is a blanket term applicable to companies, business models, platforms, online and offline communities and practices.

  • A smart building is a facility where IT is already integrated in the planning, construction and management phases.

  • Someone who works ceaselessly, who defines themselves solely through work and is addicted to it.

  • The fuzzing of work boundaries. This is a term used to describe the increasing dissolution of structures and signifies an approach where employers and employees seek ways to compensate a growing burden of work. In the narrower sense, it often refers to the dissolution of boundaries between gainful employment and private life.

  • Work -on -demand is the same thing as on-call working. Timely execution of the work is central to this model, with assignments often subject to real-time demands.