Reinforcing the sense of belonging

Global perspectives on the future of workplaces - Podcast

Episode 1: Raphael Gielgen



Global perspectives on the future of workplaces -Podcast, hosted by Antti Pitkänen, offers real-world insights to what the future of workplaces look like and how companies should adapt to an ever-changing situation. In each episode, we address the topic from a different perspective with an international workplace expert.


In our first episode, we got to discuss the future of workplaces from a global perspective with someone who truly knows what the future of the workplace will be like, Raphael Gielgen.


Raphael Gielgen is the Trendscout Future of Work at Swiss furniture company Vitra. His job is to predict what is happening in time to come, specifically in the workplace, to guide Vitra, the design community and the end-consumer. But, even Raphael could not predict the coming of a pandemic, and how it would revolutionize the way we do work and, above all, our workplaces.


However, he had very interesting insights into where all this is going to lead and what the work will look like in five years, where companies are heading and what the future trends are going to be.



Key takeaways of this discussion are:


1. Try new things


We should forget about long-term plans and instead think about what is the maximum how far we can plan at the moment, take a step backwards and create a plan. At the moment we are living in a permanent beta loop and, and even though the situation is completely insane, we can use this time to try new things.


2. Create better spaces


Due to increased remote work offices might have a lot of space that we do not need anymore but there are much more spaces that we have to build in the future. The spaces of tomorrow are competing against virtual spaces. Virtual spaces are becoming better and faster. The challenge is to make the best out of both physical and virtual space. We need to understand what will be sought from the physical work environment in the future. We need to design for belonging.


3. Digital Transformation and collaboration


In the future, remote working will keep increasing as we have constantly better digital tools and more efficient connections. We live in this intersection between real and unreal, and this will give us new opportunities. Companies no longer will have large headquarters but smaller satellites and shared facilities. Companies need to collaborate to survive in the future. Companies need to have this kind of social learning or exploration with people outside their industry, outside their organization, outside their management.


4. Social Contribution layer


Sustainability and contribution to society are growing trends in companies in the future. Companies will have an opportunity to impact their neighbourhoods and we will see a renaissance of public spaces.



Raphael kindly shared also his best advice for companies that have to make big decisions right now:


1. Redesign to create a sense of belonging in a hybrid organisation


2. Reimagine your relationships - Don’t forget your customers


3. Rethink how to measure productivity and efficiency in distributed work


4. Reframe your thinking how employees get the sense of the culture of the company remotely


Listen to the Podcast:


You can also find the Podcast on Soundcloud and on Apple Podcasts.


Here you will also find all the materials that were referred to during the discussion. Thank you Raphael for the discussion and the comprehensive material we get to share:



Don’t miss out on the Vitra Summit.


Vitra is hosting the Vitra Summit, a streaming event hosted online on 22 and 23 October, during which Vitra intends to reflect how to future-proof environments - at home, in the office and on the go. Join two days of interactive, digital exchange, with scientific findings, know-how and best practices related to the future of shared spaces.

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