Burkhard Remmers took a degree in German studies, literature and history at the University of Augsburg. After qualifying he changed career track and joined the office furniture industry in 1988. Since working for top award-winning office furniture manufacturer Wilkhahn, he has been head of different departments dealing with communications and corporate development. He is author of many international essays, books and presentations on communication and space, ergonomics and design in the context of sustainability.
– How do you think we will organize ourselves for the future office / workplace?
The key function of office buildings will change completely. While individuals could in fact work anywhere, the office will primarily serve as a place for creating a community (corporate identity), talking to one another, exchanging experiences and ideas (knowledge management) and working in project-driven teams. As a result, it is no longer the key aspect to organise interaction of people with the materials and equipment they use, but interaction between people themselves.
– How do you create a good working environment?
Due to the knowledge economy, people as productivity factors are taking centre stage for the first time in the history of business. The feeling of well-being and therefore the performance of the person concerned are vital to the success of the company. This changes all planning perspectives that previously viewed people as objects. Instead of one dimensional cost efficiency and ergonomics that focusses on reduction, it is all about creating stimuli and enriching people’s lives. The main challenge when creating good and healthy working environments is to design spaces that encourage and activate a variety of movement, spaces where people feel comfortable in physical, psychological and social terms.
– Give an example of a new product you think will change our working environment in the future.
I am convinced that two types of products will change tomorrow’s office world: one will be room elements with innovatively integrated information and communications technology for team work that the group can intuitively interact with. Similar to the way how individuals interact with their own iPads – which make working really fun. The other example will be products that prevent working at the computer from becoming an almost sleep-inducing activity because of the lack of movement and that leads to degenerative complaints and a drop in performance. In other words products that stimulate movement without tiring the body.