Modern Work Principles – How 9 principles influence modern work worldwide

Across the globe, the world of work is changing rapidly. This affects everyone who works and wants to be employed in the future. In this blog post, you’ll learn what principles are important for successful, modern work worldwide and what they can mean for your company.

Anna and Nils are the initiators of the international Modern Work Award. For almost two years they have been to 34 countries and worked with over 130 companies, with the question of how modern work is actually done far and wide. On this Modern Work Tour we got to know the world’s best knowledge for modern collaboration. Unsurprisingly, there are people all over the world who now perceive work differently and want to proactively shape it for the better. 

In a world where people often think about how we are different from others, we have gathered the commonalities of modern work. In doing so, we asked ourselves: 

  • What do these people have in common?
  • What drives them in their work?
  • How do they implement modern ways of working?
  • Why do they design their work differently and in a new way?

The results are basic values that we found for Modern Work. These form the foundation of the Modern Work Award: The 9 Modern Work Principles. They are intended to inspire change in “how we work”. 

Let’s inspire people to embark on the adventure of work themselves. Will you join us? Then apply for the award or become a sponsor to actively promote innovative collaboration initiatives. 

Purpose-driven enabling

When people find purpose in their work, work becomes meaningful. Ascribing meaning to one’s work puts out new power in us again. This means that we work with more pleasure, passion and motivation. And that usually makes us healthier and relieves us from stressful everyday life. When companies open up spaces to address the why in work, the purpose of the employee, greater identification with the employer and employee loyalty can result. That’s why Modern Work endorses purpose-driven initiatives and becomes an enabling factor for the people at work.

People first approaches

In deciding whether a decision is good for the people or for power, one should be guided by the decision close to the people. People-first decisions occur when leaders and organizations consistently strive to provide positive and empowering work experiences. When ideas are recognized and acted upon, employees are much more willing to actively think and work on problems within the company. This is how innovations are created.

Modern work stands for people-oriented approaches.

Foster growth mindset

In times of constant change, we must regularly adapt and develop new ideas. In order to remain accessible to such ideas, it is important that we meet challenges with appreciation and see them as opportunities to grow. We can decide to do this every single day. A growth mindset recognizes the potential in things and pursues them even after setbacks. Entrepreneurs who possess such openness react flexibly to change and are able to manage their company confidently in challenging times. Modern work enables us to explore and follow our path through uncertainty.

Skill based initiatives

If someone is good at something, give them the space they need to excel. Above all, this means that a “shift to leadership” is needed. Only in this way can managers better support their employees in developing their abilities. It takes courageous leadership and a new understanding of leadership that supports people in taking their own steps. Modern work supports skills-oriented initiatives to help people to embrace what they are good at.

Be as transparent and open as possible

The more we share within the company, the better we can assess our own actions and focus on them. Transparency and openness thus become fundamental conditions for developing oneself, one’s team and the company in a way that is fit for the future. Modern work promotes transparency as a catalyst for better and faster decisions and openness.

Embrace self-leadership & responsibility

More freedom in our actions means more personal responsibility for ourselves and others. But one thing is certain: if you want to work in a self-determined way, you have to be prepared to take on responsibility. This is not for cowards and requires space and time to learn. Modern Work encourages a high level of self-leadership and responsibilities while getting all the support needed by the work context.

Learning and sharing culture

Learning from and with each other means supporting each other through sharing. Because one thing is clear: If you don’t invest in new knowledge, you won’t be able to master tomorrow’s challenges with yesterday’s knowledge. In the future, the focus will be on how knowledge can be networked in the best possible way. Modern Work fosters a learning and sharing culture and embodies knowledge as the driver for success.

Sustainability approaches

With limited resources we have to decide how sustainable we want to be. In the work context, it is the call to initiate new ways of thinking that contribute to better living conditions for all. The company of the future should strive to create a working world that is child- and grandchild-friendly. Modern work stands for social and sustainable solutions in relation to each other and our planet as opposed to quick profits and cheap quality.


In order for diversity to succeed in our work, it is crucial that we break down prejudices and basically make people curious about new things. We consider cultural diversity to be an essential driver for doing this successfully. Modern Work stands for value driven approaches while accepting everybody for who they are – everybody is special, let’s treat one another accordingly.

Work needs to bring added value in order to bring impact. Modern Work strives for a well balanced approach, where work pays off – without exploitation of people and the planet. Let’s do that together – globally connected as never before. 

You see it the same way and work along the Modern Work principles yourself? That’s great and should be rewarded – apply now.

Written by Anna Schnell

I’m the managing director of MOWOMIND together with my beloved husband. As “Head of Quality”, I take care of the content-related topics at the award team. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. By the way: I am passionate about the new working world and have written about it as an author in the books “New Work Hacks” and “The Modern Work Tour – a world tour into the future of our work”.

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