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Distributed work

Vitra Session #1 - 11 March 2021, 9 am PST / 12 pm EST

Questions about remote working and its impact on the quality of our output and our lives were on our minds even before the onset of the global pandemic. Rapid innovation in communication technologies had already created the potential for new forms of digital connection yet distributed working practices had not gained traction. Profound change in the behaviour of organisations and individuals does not come easy. In March 2020, however, international lockdowns proved to be the catalyst for a worldwide Working from home experiment. As vaccination programmes proceed in many countries, it is the moment for companies and individuals to assess the mid-to-long-term implications of the shift toward a distributed working model on their lives and on the success of their organisations.

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‘The pandemic was, and still is, an accelerator that resulted in a fundamental transformation of how and where work is done. As with any true transformation, there is no looking back. Many companies and individuals are facing the question: what work model is best for me, for my workforce and for my company? Is distributed work here to stay?’
Nora Fehlbaum, CEO Vitra

In the first session, designers, thought leaders and innovative organisations will share differing points of view on distributed work, based on studies, best-practices and recommendations. Vitra will present, in a 90-minute format, new research and the organisational and spatial approach it implemented in its operations to respond to a permanently altered working mode after 2020. The first session will coincide with the publication of Vitra’s next e-paper on the topic of distributed work.


Opening keynote
With vaccination programmes proceeding in many countries, organisations and individuals are starting to plan their return to the workplace. The remote working period of the past year will leave its mark as numerous companies take on the challenges of establishing a hybrid work model.

Participant: Nora Fehlbaum
Stream it like you mean it
With the sudden shift to digital-only collaboration, we were all forced to become video conferencers. Some have done better than others in this transition. With digital collaboration likely to remain a staple in our work routine, we will use this short segment to share some practical streaming tips.

Participant: Nora Fehlbaum
From remote to distributed work – implications for individuals and organisations
Which organisational models serve distributed work? What impact do these models have on the offices of a company and what do they ask of its leaders? A discussion moderated by Gianpiero Petriglieri, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD.

Participants: Dr. Antje von Dewitz, Gianpiero Petriglieri & Nora Fehlbaum
Culinary break
Even the greatest creators in history required rituals to get them in the right mindset for the task at hand. Join us for a delicious break in your workday.

Participant: Dalad Kambhu
Leading teams digitally
Best-selling authors Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler (‘The Decision Book’) explain why informality is crucial for decision-making when working remotely.

Participants: Mikael Krogerus & Roman Tschäppeler
Can a dispersed team be creative?
As lockdowns descended across the world in 2020, many creative practices moved their teams online. An architecture firm reflects on the challenges of maintaining the creative spark in a distributed workplace.

Participants: Gill Parker & Colin Macgadie
Ergonomic seating
Sitting in one place for a long time is as much of a health hazard at home as it is in the workplace. An ergonomic chair that promotes dynamic sitting and is adjusted to your needs is the cornerstone of a functional workspace – whether it’s located at home or in the office.
Retaining talent and cultivating culture in a new hybrid reality
For decades offices have been an expression of corporate culture and have played a major role in creating it. Gianpiero Petriglieri will provide guidance on how to maintain culture and retain talent in distributed teams.

Participant: Gianpiero Petriglieri


  • Dr. Antje von Dewitz, CEO, VAUDE
  • Gianpiero Petriglieri, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour, INSEAD
  • Nora Fehlbaum, CEO, Vitra
  • Roman Tschäppeler & Mikael Krogerus, Authors
  • Gill Parker, CEO, BDG
  • Colin Macgadie, Chief Creative Officer, BDG
  • Dalad Kambhu, Chef and Owner, Kin Dee