How can we develop furnishing solutions for the world of work of the future that promote well-being, satisfaction and cooperation between staff? For Sedus Stoll, the European furniture manufacturer, this question is elementary when it comes to the approach to current and future product innovations. In the context of a field study in collaboration with the Milan architects‘ office Pierandrei Associati, the challenges of a multioptional society in today’s world of work were investigated. Products currently being developed by Sedus offer potentially concrete solutions for the most varied of requirements and specific customer needs.
The digital revolution is changing the world faster and more thoroughly than ever before. This is primarily affecting the way we communicate, including how we cultivate interpersonal relationships and cooperate with each other. Today, it is easier to share knowledge and there is a trend away from a purely materialistic sense of personal ownership. This means that the way people think and act is becoming more open, which in turn is leading to new behaviour in the way we collaborate. As a result, lifestyles are becoming more flexible and mutable than in the past. There is also a growing awareness of one’s health and the associated necessity for selfreliance.
New groupings and forms of organisation engender a feeling of togetherness and forge strong bonds between people, who create their own special rituals and identify with the cultural and symbolic values of the group. What is the common denominator of most innovative work environments?
The visit to the companies, which were regarded as especially innovative and therefore were included in the field study, provided insights into the most varied of scenarios in the office world. Open space offices of leading multinational corporations as well as team workplaces in relatively smaller companies were among the places visited. It is very important to note that today’s office is one of the places in a person’s life that is being affected the most by the profound changes mentioned above. It is exactly for this reason that an office must satisfy the requirements of its users, especially when changes are to be implemented in the context of a companywide reorganisation process.
The office of the future must take account of the needs of different generations who work together in the same environment. These include the freedom to decide where, how and for how long a task is to be performed as well as more freedom in the way people behave.
In summary, four basic requirements that are needed to make work environments possible were filtered out in the framework of the study: concentration, communication, cooperation and withdrawal.
Important activities or areas of application are as follows:
• Concentrated working
• Informally working alone and reading
• Acoustic partitioning for discreet telephone calls
• Relaxing at ease
• Cultivation of interpersonal relationships in breaks, organised meeting points and interfaces
• Training rooms and facilities for presentations
• Teamwork areas and creative workshop spaces
• Acoustically shielded conference rooms
Conclusion: The office is not dying out! But competent employees still choose the company for which they want to work according to the benefits that the job offers in addition to the financial remuneration. Some advantages of employers are of an intangible nature. Office buildings and office floors will play an increasingly important role as spaces that provide a sense of identity for companies and their very flexible and globally mobile employees. Corporate culture will be located here – especially in holistically designed office landscapes and the areas that are mainly dedi-cated to project work and temporary communicative interaction. Every company follows a different business model, with different kinds of work and different processes. As one of the leading allround suppliers in the office furniture industry, Sedus supply a variety of solutions for every application, solutions that it develops in close collaboration with its customers. A network of experts that includes sales colleagues, specialists in ergonomics, interior designers and space planners provide outstanding support throughout the country and on an international level as well. The brochure entitled “Freedom at Work – Insights into Changing Work Styles” is available on request.