General Manager Vitra Switzerland & Austria, Head of Global Customer Service, Expert Workplace of Tomorrow

Heiko Stahl is General Manager of Vitra Switzerland & Austria, a family business that has stood for durable products, sustainable growth and the power of good design for over 80 years.

After completing a trade apprenticeship and studying business administration, Heiko Stahl worked for several international office furniture manufacturers. In 2011, he joined Vitra, where he took on the role of Managing Director for Switzerland and Austria in 2014. In addition to this role, he is responsible for International Key Account Management, Workplace Consulting, and Trend Research at Vitra. In 2016, he completed an advanced program at Stanford University.

Heiko Stahl Lecture topics

New Workplace Purpose

With the pandemic, the traditional significance and relevance of the physical workplace were turned upside down. The majority of the workforce started working from home at the push of a button, and to everyone’s surprise, it worked! “Hybrid is here to stay” – It is time to move away from the equation of presence equals productivity and face a new reality. But what meaning and relevance does the physical work environment hold in this new reality? In his presentations, Heiko Stahl explains why the importance of the office has never been higher.

Human Centred Space Planning

Employee engagement is a factor that reflects the corporate culture and has a strong impact on the success and innovative capacity of a company. Employees are increasingly seeking meaning and purpose in their work. Physical space can significantly support the transformation of this sense of purpose, provided it is aligned with the human needs of the users and conveys a sense of security and identity. Therefore, planning processes should always start with human needs because understanding needs helps us understand what people do or don’t do.

Culture & Pride in Belonging

Humans are social beings, and they perish alone. We constantly seek the proximity of others, both communicatively and physically, to belong to a community. But how can this sense of belonging manifest itself in our employees when there is increasing physical distance between them? Heiko Stahl is convinced that future work environments must go beyond the desk and chair, with the aim of making the company’s culture tangible and experiential for everyone.

The Duty of Space

The physical environment influences people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. When companies harness the power of this influence by embedding space into their strategy and culture, the physical work environment can enable organizational transformations. In the digital age, adaptability becomes increasingly important because it is no longer the biggest and strongest companies in the market that survive, but rather those that can adapt to this transformation most quickly and leverage it for their own growth.

Heiko Stahl deals daily with the impact of rapid economic, ecological and digital transformations on the physical work environment. Together with his team, he seeks answers to the question of what a workplace or employer must offer to promote employee engagement, a sense of identity and belonging, as well as collaboration and knowledge transfer.