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Orgatec 2018 Review: Work culture on the change

Which effects do New Work and the increasing digitalisation have on the work environment? What do inspiring office environments of the future look like? Orgatec occupied itself with these and other questions from 23 to 27 October in Cologne. Over 750 exhibitors presented products and solutions for the changing work culture at the leading international trade fair. The diversified event programme examined the most important trends and industry themes.

The prevailing theme at the past Orgatec was the change in work culture and its effects on the work environment. The focus was not only on the exhibitors' new products for contemporary workplaces, but also on visions for future worlds of work. As a theme-oriented business platform, the trade fair offered a diversified event programme that was dedicated to future-looking issues of office work.

"What future would you like?" was for instance the question posed in the Trend Forum of ORGATEC. In the course of the forum supported by ambista, renowned experts discussed which significant developments characterise the world of work of the 21st Century. The emphasis lay on the question as to how companies are adapting to the changes and how they can use this as a competitive edge.

Feel good with New Work

In his capacity as CEO of the American Society for Interior Design, Randy Fiser, who presented a new case study on office design of the future to the Trend Forum, demanded "A "(R)evolution at the workplace". He considers the central challenge for designers to be combining technological development and human well-being.

As working becomes increasingly digital and blends together more and more with leisure time, people want to feel comfortable in their working environment. Samir Ayoup also pointed this out in his trend lecture. The designfunktion Group headed by him conducted a study on "Effective office and work worlds" together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO/Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation).

The survey carried out on over 1,000 experts from companies as well as the architecture and real estate industry delivered a clear picture: The future dominant form of office is called "Multispace" and offers different room options for the varying needs of the employees.

Holistic solutions instead of individual products

The Trend Forum experts of both the lectures and a discussion round between international players were in agreement. The workplace of tomorrow caters more strongly to the peoples' needs and promotes the creativity and commitment of employees. What such a work environment could look like became clear at the exhibition stands of the exhibitors.

Flexible and multi-functional solutions were presented at many stands, which can be quickly and simply adapted to suit individual needs - from the quiet environment for concentrated work, to the implementation for meetings, through to usage as a creative space. Many manufacturers no longer see themselves as suppliers of products, but instead as solution providers and are betting on holistic concepts.

The office is becoming mobile

The change from traditional working methods through to New Work was frequently presented at Orgatec under the buzz word agility. Activity-based working and other forms of collaborative cooperation demand a new approach.

Instead of rigid and hierarchically organised office structures, today environments are preferred that are flexible for different activities and working methods - in the truest sense of the word. Ergonomics and health play an increasingly important role when furnishing offices.

Sit-stand tables, stools or apps that promote movement and animate the users to change their positions support an ageing workforce. The intuitive implementation of technology or systems for improved room acoustics also aims to improve the well-being.

Form follows Emotion

Manufacturers are responding to the working methods of a younger generation in start-ups or co-working spaces with designs that are as comfy, inspiring and often playful as possible. "Form follows emotion" is the new credo in office furnishings. Soft surfaces, organic shapes and friendly colours convey both relaxation and functionality.

Modular seating landscapes or room-in-room systems invite employees to hold informal meetings and can be quickly adapted to changed office structures. In the meantime even carpets correspond to the multispace demands and are tailor-made designed to suit the different office areas.

Smart project work

Today's office environment needs to be able to facilitate mobile working methods as well as the quick exchange of information and ideas. But how can modern technology be integrated into dynamic project work or spontaneous, often short meetings?

Orgatec 2018 also offered graphic examples in answer to questions concerning the increasing digital connectivity. The high-tech products were not simply exhibited, they could actually be put to the everyday test under real conditions. Conference rooms equipped with innovative technology could actually be used at the trade fair.

ORGATEC 2018 not only illustrated the rapid changes in the world of work, but also showed the continuous development towards intelligently organised office work. In the light of this shift, the leading international trade fair also placed special emphasis on cultural conditions such as an agile organisation of the working environment or collaborative forms of work. Following the motto "Culture@Work" they offered manifold stimuli and inspiration in line with a changing understanding of office work.


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