Always with an eye on the general situation

When we launched the first spring-mounted swivel chair onto the market in 1925, the world of work was undergoing a radical transformation. The first open-plan office spaces were being created and it was the first time that many people spent a lot of time at work sitting. This swivel chair was our answer to the question as to how working in offices could be made more pleasant and comfortable.

Ninety years later, the world of work altered again at a very rapid pace. Mega-trends such as demographic change are factors that have made it necessary to re-organise work. At the same time, however, it also requires that an office be designed to meet a variety of different needs so that it can be used by older people and the disabled, for example.

What’s more, it must be possible to hold conferences with people all over the world via video link, the reason being that globalisation has led to a situation where almost any company can automatically find business partners all over the world. However, our products are also intended to lastingly modify the nature of everyday work and improve wellbeing at the workplace over a long period of time. This is not just because of the ongoing health boom but also because we have been doing exactly this for decades. In order to guarantee this, we are even now looking ahead and thinking about what everyday life in the office will look like in future.

Trends

Demographic Change

The differences in employees' ages are becoming greater. Up to four generations work together. Offices must be suitable for multiple generations.

Diversity

Women, men, small and tall employees, everyone who is healthy, disabled or chronically ill – The variety of people who will work in the offices of the future is unending.

Change

Due to globalisation, the general economics situation is changing enormously. Continuous transformation in companies is necessary in order to maintain competitiveness.

Health boom

The general awareness of the need for a healthy body and a healthy working environment is rising.

Feeling good at work

In this context, we always keep an eye on ensuring that we implement these changes in such a way that we can make the working atmosphere in offices more pleasant and supportive. The specific kinds of company that exist and their corporate objectives as well as the future development of many branches of industry are also taken into account in the development of our new products.

In order to be able to see things from the outside, as it were, we also regularly collaborate on research projects with external partners such as universities or the Fraunhofer Society. We therefore know that the classical office is changing from a place where one works to a communication space where the aim is to enable discussion and interpersonal interaction.

What is especially important here are the spaces that make accidental encounters possible – coffee-making areas, zones where staff can retreat to or also cafés and canteens that are also open to third parties. And, in the future, what we understand as classical work will increasingly be done at home or at desks shared by several employees, the reason being that, in order to remain attractive to talented staff, employers need to think about how they can enable their employees to balance family life and their profession. But this also means that an office has to be designed for flexibility so that project-related work can be efficiently organised for teams that constantly change.

Trends

Focus on communication

More and more working spaces are becoming necessary for communication between different teams.

Creative breaks

Homely areas for relaxation and an informal exchange of ideas are gaining in importance.

New models of work

The desire to balance family life and work is a challenge for employers – also in terms of the type of furnishing concept, for example in the form of desk sharing.

Flexibility

Flexible furnishing concepts and furniture are also called for if everyone is not always in the office and team change their composition.

Our think tank

We were the first manufacturer in our industry with a research and development department, which we opened in 1971. In the company’s own thinktank which resulted from this, engineers and designers work together to analyse developments in everyday working life that are expected in the next few years.

Technological innovations and demographic change will have direct impacts on the office of the future. This is important because, among other things, highly talented new employees have different requirements to those of their predecessors. The desk, in contrast, is losing its old meaning as a status symbol of the individual employee and, instead, is gaining new value as a workstation where teams can work together on projects. 

In an increasingly automated industry, innovation and creativity are becoming key competences that are absolutely decisive for success. At the same time, hierarchies are becoming less rigid and are giving way to efficient and robust networks, while cost-intensive office space is being reduced as most employees will spend a lot of time outside the classical office.

Trends

War for talent

Companies are fighting for the best employees and have to offer them attractive conditions.

Knowledge work

Due to automation, the amount of intellectual, communicative and creative work is increasing.

Fluid organisations

Hierarchical structures are giving way to networks and resilient systems.

Efficiency enhancement

There is a tendency to reduce floor space and employees and the requirements for the amount of work done in a given space is rising.

Video: Sedus – EIC