Joelle Nader, Sedus’ Managing Director, discusses ergonomic furniture, the impact of technology on design, workplace trends, and what to expect from the brand in the near future.

Can you give a quick overview of what you do professionally at Sedus and what do you find most meaningful about your work?

I belong to Sedus family since 2009, and currently responsible of  Sedus Office Furniture LLC, a subsidiary of Sedus, overlooking the Middle East markets. We are in the process of establishing our Sedus license in Riyadh.

Being part of a company owned by two charitable foundations is the most rewarding aspect of my work. Knowing that 2/3 of our profits are used for projects that protect the Environment, promote health and provide a brighter future for underprivileged children, gives me a better sense of belonging and a purpose in my daily work.

I also find a great fulfilment from building trust, offering value, and making a positive effect with my existing clients, as well as collaborating with new ones. 

What does ergonomics mean to you?

Ergonomics is about creating a harmonious relationship between humans and the things they interact with. It’s a field that is constantly evolving as technology changes and our understanding of human needs grows. 

At Sedus, physical ergonomics was first looked at in 1926 when the word “Ergonomics” did not even exist we designed and produced the first spring-mounted swivel chair in Europe called “Federdreh” chair, that you can still find in our museum in Germany.

We design office furniture for promoting back health, encouraging active working, and helping break the monotony of sitting at a desk chair and allowing easy integration of movement into daily work life, such as with our Se Lab height-adjustable desks. This increased activity boosts circulation and blood flow, leading to positive effects on concentration and productivity.

How important do you believe company culture is to an organisation’s success?

Company culture is extremely important for a company’s success. It shapes how employees feel and work together. A positive culture leads to happier employees, better teamwork, and more innovation. It also helps attract great talent and builds trust with customers. Overall, a strong company culture is essential for long-term success. 

Our philosophy at Sedus is built on 153 years of traditional values that are still relevant today. We believe that people can only do their best and succeed when they feel good. What’s good for individuals is also good for businesses. This belief guides everything we do. 

At Sedus, we understand that furniture design can be a powerful tool for shaping and reflecting the company culture, which can in turn influence employee’s well-being, productivity, and talent acquisition. We do so by designing furniture that caters to specific work styles and company values. This includes ergonomic furniture for health-conscious companies, modular furniture for collaboration-focused workplaces, or sustainable furniture for environmentally friendly organisations. 

What is your best advice on maximising productivity in the office?

The design of the workspace plays an important factor in maximizing productivity. Moving away from static assigned desks for all and creating a variety of workspaces designed for different activities allows employees to choose the environment that best suits their current task. Furnishing the office with solutions that adapt to the future changes, to an environment of agile working and to a freedom of movement maximises productivity. 

Prioritising ergonomic furniture that promotes good posture and comfort. Choosing furniture made from recycled materials with eco-friendly manufacturing processes. 

This promotes a healthy work environment and aligns with a growing focus on sustainability. 

Maximise natural light exposure throughout the office space. Studies have shown natural light can improve mood, creativity, and focus. Incorporate plants and other nature-inspired elements into the design. Biophilic design can reduce stress and contribute to a more positive work environment.

Are your customers changing their buying habits to favour products made with sustainable processes?

Yes. Our customers are searching for manufacturers that are “Doing business sustainably”.

Sedus prioritises sustainability, as evidenced by numerous awards and certifications, such as Christof Stoll being named Eco Manager of the Year in 1993, achieving Eco Audit compliance with EU standards in 1995, and becoming the first office furniture manufacturer to receive EMAS III certification in 2010. Sedus’s next goal is to become CO2 neutral by 2025.

Which is why at Sedus, we are adopting a holistic approach that protects the environment and conserves resources for the future. 

As early as the development stage we think about the choice of materials thus the assessment of life cycles and the associated environmental impacts are already taken into account in the development process. Being a German manufacturer, we ensure that short distances certified materials.

We produce using 100% green electricity to reduce CO2 emissions and continue the optimisation of material e.g. converting the electroplating plant from chromium (VI) to chromium (III). We optimise our packaging systems by reducing the packing by 50% thanks to a modular system and using recyclable packaging materials.

With office technology changing—companies employing tablet computers, more people using mobile phones—can you talk about the new design problems Sedus’ engineers and designers are facing today?

Absolutely! The rise of new technologies like tablets, mobile phones, and even wearable tech has thrown some curveballs at traditional office furniture design. At Sedus ergonomics is for evolving devices and to support non-traditional work settings. Our designers who have already incorporated mobile charging ports and integrated charging ports to not only fixed and sit-stand workstations but also to all our soft seating the latest being the se:living, storage spaces such as the se:matrix and se:hub, workshop tools and room elements such as the se:cubes. This thoughtful integration of power outlets, USB ports, and wireless charging options into our furniture helps avoid tangled wires and makes charging devices easier for users.

What workplace trends do you see on the horizon?

The workplace models is changing to adapt to the hybrid model. 

As remote work becomes common, offices are no longer just for work. They are evolving to compete with new hybrid workspaces.

The workspaces need to blend with places like homes, hotels, and public spots, focusing on people’s well-being. 

Balancing work and life is crucial, so offices should support healthy workloads and reduce stress for employees. Digital advancements and flexible schedules drive this change, this is why today’s workspace emphasises on the community, tech support, and teamwork to provide a flexible work options.

Another feature in the Hybrid working model, is the management system for smart working. It is found with our Se Connects system, which is an intelligent solution for the use and management of workspaces. Employees can easily find and book a free workplace or reserve meeting rooms, It is also a great system for the Facility managers to measure the occupancy of the space and optimise the working environment.

There will likely be a growing focus on incorporating elements of nature into office design to improve employee well-being and creativity. This could involve things like natural light, plants, and even water features. As environmental concerns continue to grow, I expect to see a stronger focus on sustainable furniture made from recycled materials and with eco-friendly manufacturing processes. Overall, the future of office design seems to be headed towards creating dynamic, adaptable, and employee-centric workspaces that prioritise well-being, comfort, and technological integration while keeping sustainability in mind. 

What office chair do you sit in and why? What specific features about your office chair do you appreciate and enjoy?

I am sitting on the Sedus Open Up chair. Its ergonomic shape guarantees the right working posture, its functions enable relaxation and the flexibility of the backrest allows constant movements. All in all, the Open Up truly helps in clearing your mind and inspiring efficient work.

How can companies begin to reinvent the workplace to better meet the evolving needs of people?

Offering employees flexibility and choice. Mind you the office is now hosting five generations traditionalists, baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and Generation Z. Offering a variety of workspaces for different activities and different styles of work empowers employees to choose the setting that best suits their current task and maximises productivity.

Embracing remote work and hybrid models. This allows employees more flexibility in where and when they work, leading to better work-life balance and potentially attracting a wider talent pool. Invest in technology that allows employees to work efficiently from anywhere. Explore innovative technology like sit-stand desks that adjust electronically for better ergonomics. Focus on ergonomics and speak to Sedus. 

Leave us with three things we should be on the lookout for from Sedus.

  1. Sedus new concept called “The Temptation Office”: Innovative solutions for the workplace of the future
  2. The renovation of our showroom space in Dubai displaying the new products 
  3. Our new showroom space in Riyadh to be announced officially soon.