Office 21 – The future of work in the sights of science

How will we work and live in the future? As with every type of futurology, this question can be easily accused of being pure speculation. However, scientific concepts such as the joint research project Office 21 initiated by the Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation (IAO, Frauenhofer institute for Industrial Engineering) show that the future of work has long since left the realms of idle speculation. As an affiliate partner of the IAO, CA Immo not only benefits from the research results, but also contributes its own experience to the project.
Significantly: Working in a knowledge-based society
An undeniable starting point in the profound change is the transformation, which has long since been achieved and is steadily progressing, from a society based on production and services to one based on knowledge, accompanied by the recognition that this knowledge must be distributed in order to be productive. The result is a growing need for cooperation and communication – and out of that, the need for adequate working environments: The offices in which knowledge professionals work must improve performance, sustain health and be inspiring. Technical functionality is absolutely essential.

Changing tasks, increased internationality and constant acquisition of new knowledge shape the knowledge-based world of work. Competitive work on all levels and self-organised teamwork are as much a requirement as they are a result of successful processes.
New world of work – new values
The most important corporate resource is and remains the employee – inasmuch as they are not only professionally but also mentally a part of the business community and share and live out its central values.

Openness for positive coexistence and interest in the work of others

Willingness to cooperate and readiness to help

Community based on motivation and mutual trust

Sustainability in terms of the efficient use of space, infrastructure and natural resources

Accessibility of the office – even in the most pragmatic sense of being able to reach it optimally using public transport. 

Of course, it is not only the employees’ responsibility to provide and develop relevant values – on the contrary, the employers must create an atmosphere that is considerate in all respects. It should be worth the effort because the benefits are overwhelming. Here the Fraunhofer IAO cites factors including the significantly better possibility of integrating freelancers into projects, creating synergies, discovering talents and – last but not least – implementing projects more quickly and more sustainably.


What is your personal opinion of the new working world: Are you already there? Or do you still have your doubts? Find out, compare and share your results at .


On behalf of the consulting firm Signium, Zukunftsinstitut examined attitudes, motivations and objectives of people in their early 20s to mid-30s and published the results in “Generation Y. The self-image of the managers of tomorrow“. More than 500 interviews result in a portrayal of a generation that not only defines work differently, but also gives it a completely new significance in their lives. For many companies, timely analysis of the needs of their future top performers is not only a requirement, but also a real opportunity – especially with respect to those employees who have already crossed 20 twice!

Merely by looking at the life goals, the contrast to previous generations of workers becomes apparent: 89% believe independence is desirable, 87% want to have fun and enjoy life – but just as many want to have a meaningful, fulfilling job. This is not a contradiction – the motto is: happy people are successful people. Against this background, it becomes clear why predictability and the work-life balance has priority over traditional careers that make the job more important than private life. Employment and equal opportunities for women are seen as matters of course by everyone.

As a result, particularly highly qualified young professionals are increasingly less willing to adapt to work-related conditions that do not correspond to their values and ideas. If they no longer like their job, they switch. And a job market determined by the lack of young professionals makes it easy for them. Nevertheless, the willingness to get involved is higher than ever. 77% say: ”If the job is fun, I'm ready to give it my all.” Someone who wants to exploit this potential has to engage in a dialogue instead of insisting on traditional concepts. This also applies to shaping the work environment, which is ideally perceived as a “place to be” that promotes communication and creativity, innovation and agility.