Bonus: Future of Work // Vitra

January 21, 2021

Expert Sessions with Vitra

Over the last three months, our Corporate Partners had the unique opportunity to deep dive into future work trends with trend scout Raphael Gielgen from Vitra. He is the author of “Work Panorama 2020” and based on his work for Vitra, he exclusively developed four sessions to share his knowledge and predictions for future work trends with us.

The objective of these expert sessions was to broadly open up the thinking around the way of working as of today and to open up the minds of the corporate partners to come up with fresh ideas to exploit the infinite possibilities of innovation within their company.

With the first session, we put the focus on the “anywhere eco-system”, an approach of decentralization of work, and the topic of “virtual connectivity.” Due to multiple reasons, an increasing number of people have to work from anywhere. Some might be business travelers or commuters; others might need a change of scenery. Especially in times of Covid-19, most of the people have to readjust and work from home regularly. The uncontested importance of this topic, due to an increasing number of employees currently facing this challenge, is raising the pressure on companies. Companies, therefore, have to adapt their workspaces and change the office, so it also becomes a place to feel comfortable, meet, and get inspired.

Raphael states that “While the virtual connectivity universe offers companies and their employees tools to organize and optimize remote work, it cannot replace the feeling of human belonging.” The loss of social contact is especially during Covid-19, a well-known issue almost everyone can relate to. Therefore, in the future, it is even more important to give workers space in the office to get the chance to connect and exchange with colleagues and friends.

 

The second session by Raphael consisted of the topics “permanent beta” and “talent transfer.”

Permanent beta frees us from the constant compulsion to optimize, accelerate and control. Our economic system is no longer based on the idea of finished products but is driven by permanent modifications and optimizations.[..] We must learn that there are no answers in the alpha state”(Raphael). Therefore, Permanent beta is an approach to try not to overoptimize things.

The second topic addressed the importance of cross-sector work, lifelong learning, and further education. 

Raphael highlighted the cultural framework and campus community in his third session for our corporate partners. Not only should the cultural framework be lived by the company, but it is also important that the values are mirrored in the workspace. Raphael defines the workspace as a place that should reflect the skills, traditions, value systems, myths, and symbols that are common in corporate communities.

The second topic, campus community, deals with the question “why should I go back to the office?” Starting with the campus community, Raphael highlighted the importance of the office. An office is still a crucial place where people work together and connect since many projects and tasks can only be solved by team effort.

In our last session, Raphael presented the corporate partners the remaining two topics, human core and planet centric design. Planet centric design is about office buildings that are designed more healthily. The office should become a place where you feel refreshed and motivated. This can be done by including a biophilic design that regenerates the employees. Also, different offers like yoga, etc. can make the employees more productive and healthier. The topic of the human core can be seen as a continuation of this. According to Raphael, we should focus on how buildings can improve our comfort, support decision-making processes, and promote our health and well-being. Especially in a post-Covid-19 world, a healthy building will be considered the first step in improving employee well-being.

Raphael’s four presentation sessions were followed by a discussion session organized by Vitra to allow the corporate partners to evaluate ideas and opinions about the four sessions.

 

During the session, various challenges that the Corporates are currently facing came to light, including the loss of informal interaction, the difficulty of integrating new employees and other changes that have arisen due to the new situation with Covid-19. Companies target is to change their office setup such that employees are motivated to come back to the office. Further new work programs were built, employees gained new digital competencies and remote events were organized by employees.

All this has already changed a lot in the way people think. Corporates are adapting to the new reality and the increasing remote time in the future.

For example, one of our partners is currently planning a new office and is now asking themselves: How much space and parking do we actually need? How can the aspect of sustainability be better integrated? The first steps are to adopt policies for sustainability ambitions and to take activity-based working as a starting point for the new office. Corporate culture also plays an important role in the future and how to adapt one, when a majority of employees will work from home. For this purpose, leadership programs were created to show new ways of leadership that meet the needs of the new now, showing that the Corporate partners have already identified the importance and have the ambition to change their workspace as well as the corporate company structure around it.

 

The sessions were seen as a great success by all parties, leading to an even greater commitment to our Mission and teams.

 

I hope you had fun reading.

 

All the best,

 

Julia

P.S. Check out Raphael Gielgen's Flipboard for more inspiration.

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