Christian Petrini, CEO of Vifian Möbelwerkstätte, has been dealing with this topic for many years. In an interview, he explains what changes are coming to the world of work and how companies are preparing for them.
Christian, how has workplace culture changed in recent years?
Christian Petrini: While employees used to go to work primarily to earn money for their living, today they see more than just “doing” in it. People are looking for fulfilment in their work, a
deeper meaning and want to contribute to the big picture. In a rapidly changing world, with the employee as a scarce resource, the company headquarters must increasingly become a magnet office for its employees. Because the workforce continues to identify strongly with their employer and the team. Each individual is part of a social structure that offers orientation. This circumstance, in turn, influences the leadership and team culture; instead of approaching a task alone in a chamber, new ideas emerge in interdisciplinary teams. This co-working requires flexibility and diversity in the spaces that emphasise the teams’ strengths and pick up on the companies’ goals. Today, the “office” is tucked away in a pocket on a notebook. But the inspiration, innovation and creation continues to take place in physical form with people for people.
And what additional changes will employers have to continue to adapt to?
Christian Petrini: Digitalisation will take on even greater proportions. Companies will have to offer location-independent work, ensure networking with the company, the team, but also with stakeholders outside the organisation. In a complex world, problems and challenges are increasingly solved together – because more heads bring more power. On the other hand, companies must offer their employees support and orientation. They become constructs that promote people as individuals. This diversity must be reflected in the rooms so that all members of an organisation can develop their full potential. Because where I feel good, I perform better.
Working 4.0: what does the office of the future look like in concrete terms?
Christian Petrini: I don’t believe that there is an Office 4.0. For me, it is much more important in this context that we recognise the concrete needs of workplace users. As individual as every person and every company is, their preferred environments will be just as different.
Are there companies that are already mastering such challenges quite well?
Christian Petrini: Interior design firms like Ernst, von Petersdorff + Partner work with clients like Horvath und Partner AG to develop their individual corporate DNA in space. We at Vifian are convinced that in order to ideally reflect this corporate identity, a good interplay between architecture, implementation and the end client is needed even in the initial phase of a project. This was probably also the recipe for success in this project.