September 22, 2023No Comments

Life Design Circle’s and the new work culture wave.

Young professionals across industries and their struggle with flexibility: Life Design Circle’s answers to the new work culture wave.

Daiana Vitalba is an innovator, explorer and founder of Life Design Circle. LDC is an online workshop that equip organizations and individuals with the tools and guidance to navigate their next change in a playful way. 

reading time: 3min

We are seeing a dramatic change in the work culture; we are coming to a realization that work is not all there is and mental health is now a priority. What’s your take on it?

I am very optimistic about the post-pandemic changes in the work culture, thanks to technology!

Experiments in countries like South Africa, Belgium, Iceland and Japan, have shown overwhelmingly positive results with a 4-day workweek with a 100-80-100 model (100% pay for 80% of time in exchange for 100% productivity). Many businesses are also testing the 3:2 model (3 in-person, 2 home office days), while a number of start-ups are embracing a fully-remote work culture, which is more cost-effective and taps into an international talent pool.

"Experiments in countries like South Africa, Belgium, Iceland and Japan, have shown overwhelmingly positive results with a 4-day workweek with a 100-80-100 model (100% pay for 80% of time in exchange for 100% productivity)

Employees experience increased satisfaction, as one of the top 3 values of the future workforce is flexibility (Deloitte study on Millennials and Gen Z´s, 2022). A better control over when, where and how to work allows them to prioritize wellbeing. Moreover, this new self awareness can notably relieve the burden of organizations, recognizing that mental health is highly individual.

Who needs more guidance? New generations or organizations to adapt to the new wave of employees?

Employees tend to adapt faster to new work models when given the 'green light.' Digital nomads have embraced such flexibility for years. However, organizations often face a trust dilemma.

Many businesses still cling to traditional beliefs, equating physical office presence with productivity and engagement. In truth, when the focus shifts to outcomes and trust is freely extended, professionals find greater inner motivation and appreciate the genuine sense of care.

For example, a senior business consultant shared with me how much she enjoys working in her pajamas for three years now. It saved her countless commuting hours, giving her more quality time with her fiancée. Recently, her company implemented limitless vacation days, yet she only “uses them responsibly” out of concern that means extra work for her team. Isn't it a great case of mutual trust?

"A senior business consultant shared with me how much she enjoys
working in her pyjamas for three years now
life design circle

Let’s clarify, is this workshop for designers only? Who needs this really?

Our programs require zero prior design experience. We are democratizing tools, originally rooted in design thinking, service design, strategic innovation, and consulting. Our current focus is on professionals across industries while championing gender equality, welcoming all genders.

Our experience demonstrates that professionals typically seek our programs when driven by external factors like layoffs or internal cravings for professional growth and work with purpose.

Please go through quickly how you came to realize the need of this project.

Like many entrepreneurs, my drive to launch this project is deeply personal. Battling burnout, IBS, and panic attacks for five years, while navigating a non-linear career path showed me the need for a more holistic life approach. All the tools I developed, I needed myself.

Connecting with professionals across industries, I realized I wasn't alone. Ambitious individuals faced health issues due to performance pressure, and creatives struggled to find direction.

Discovering design thinking, I had an epiphany. Engaging both our creative and analytical skills, the process isn't limited to business challenges - it empowers us to address complex life issues. Inspired by Stanford University's Life Design Lab, I embraced the mission to make it accessible.

"The process empowers us to address complex life issues,
inspired by Stanford University's Life Design Lab

Can you make an example and what are the tools for the program?

It's amusing how people often wonder what a tool looks like. In Life Design we use 5 types: design tools, journaling tools, energisers, discussion questions and visualizations.

Design tools resemble mind maps and help us capture, cluster and organize thoughts and ideas. Journaling tools, in the form of a daily log, guide us on how to collect new information while we test an idea in the real world. Energizers and discussion questions are primarily used in a group setting, helping participants maximize knowledge sharing. Visualizations are the most powerful way to tap into our subconscious and imagine different futures.

Impostor syndrome is real and many struggle with it, do your tools help with this issue?

Unfortunately, imposter syndrome is not only limited to young professionals. To explain the term - it's a belief that one isn't as capable as others perceive. It can lead to burnout, as these professionals tend to either over-perform or people-please in an attempt to prove their worth.

Our methods don´t target imposter syndrome directly. However, they encourage individuals to examine an issue from multiple perspectives, noticing how their peer, family or cultural biases overshadow their own opinion. In a way, we empower professionals to trust their own judgment.

"in regards to Impostor syndrome, our methods encourage individuals to examine an issue from multiple perspectives, noticing how their peer, family or cultural biases overshadow their own opinion. In a way, we empower professionals to trust their own judgment.

Burnouts are a bitch we all know… does your workshop for organizations also help to overcome and understand?

Employee burnout is a loss on both ends, with turnover expenses often exceeding twice an employee salary. Recovery process can take from 3 months up to 1 year. Many only realize the problem when it is too late. 

Life Design can prevent burnout by promoting self-awareness in finding activities that increase one's energy on a daily basis. We advocate for adding the word “rest” to the work-life balance.

What’s the real deal after the program?

To meet professionals´demand for flexibility, we are going even more digital!

Our 30-day group program for professionals across industries to restart their job and life is soon going to be offered as a self-paced online course with the option of joining a cohort with extra group sessions. We aim to maintain a professional network for an ongoing resource exchange and idea sharing even beyond the program´s completion.

Life Design Circle’s and the new work culture wave.

Any exciting experiences / projects related to LDC coming soon? What would you like to communicate

More surprises are coming! In the past year, we partnered up with the Danish engineer union IDA to adapt a few of our tools to their internal members ́ platform. We can't wait for the results!

There will be a few opportunities for individuals to connect virtually and bring a specific problem related to their job or life to our virtual Circle Jam. Our most exciting project ahead is turning our program into an online course that will allow more professionals to benefit from the tools. 

Stay tuned and follow us on LinkedIn for updates!

Connect with Daiana Vitalba @daianavitalba

Explore Life Design Circle and Life Vision workshop at

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The Gift Unboxing

Framing Identities 2021 - entry call
Copenhagen Photo festival

More and more international students look to study abroad. Denmark is one of the top five
countries in Europe to offer English-taught university programs and where the government
subsidised the students to study and retain them to contribute back to Danish society while
working. In recent years, according to the Ministry of Higher Education, only one in five
(21%) of the English-speaking students find work in Denmark after completing their

As an undergrad myself and working in Denmark for ten years I can tell why students leave
this country just after their graduation. I had hard times here but somehow managed to get through so many obstacles and barriers like language for example, the cold, dark winters and last but not least bonding with Danes. I would bet that finding a job and fitting in a Danish working environment is the hardest part after completing the studies, that is why many leave as soon as their unemployment insurance runs out. But for those who decide to stay longer, what does it mean to live in the happiest nation in the world?

I had the opportunity to interview 8 students and workers living in town who shared similar experiences and stories. We also talked about identity and embracing another culture and how they deal with confrontation with this Nordic society. Because of time constraints I decided to go forward with one of them I met this summer here in Copenhagen. Her name is Gift... yes, like a gift, or if one prefers Isabella, her second name. She is a student at Roskilde University, currently studying International Bachelor's in Global Humanities, majoring in Communication and International Studies, while working as barista for a small coffee chain called Impact Roasters.

Gift is from Nairobi, Kenya, she moved to Copenhagen in 2017. After living for 20 years in her city, she felt the necessity to expand her horizons abroad and finally got approval to study in Denmark. I can tell she is the most extroverted person I met, a blast of energy, enthusiasm, passion and attitude. Yet, after four years living in Denmark she went through some deep personality changes; from being 100% extrovert to an “introverted extrovert” as she likes to define herself.

Growing up in Nairobi life was more spontaneous in every aspect; She would leave the doorstep with or without planned destination, the days were assured of new social interactions full of laughter and sometimes tears with strangers; loud streets full of life, people shouting at each other from opposite corners of the streets, the hot Nairobi sun, the music filled buses and matatus, people enjoying simple things like smiling at a random stranger or dancing in the streets; neighbourhood kids running around the blocks, young adults hanging out at each others house randomly since they have no jobs or school lesson to attend to. In those days she felt like the community still looked out for her.

She defines happiness as more of a social aspect and kindness, where a stranger becomes a friend through “hello”. Despite speaking an excellent Danish language and attending one of the most “hippie” universities in Denmark, -as she defines it-, she finds it hard to make new friends. Here she came to learn that Danes take a considerable time before they call you a friend. She says: “It doesn’t matter how long one has known a Dane or how well one thinks one knows them or how much one likes each other’s company; you are not friends until both parties agree that they are friends. Only then one does introduce a Dane as a friend. Otherwise, they just refer to them as ‘people I know’”.

There is no such thing as typical seasons in Kenya: it is either a long or short rainy season. Whereas in Denmark there is constant change between rain, snow, sun, (that never seems hot enough according to her) and cold winds. The change happens every few months but she has learnt not to be shocked when she experiences all the seasons in an hour or while moving from one location to the next around Denmark.

Time moves fast as the weather here. Four years have gone; as she puts it: here I am more aware of ‘time running out’, yet somehow looking at most of my Danish peers, they live their life with no worry of tomorrow. Differences in our upbringings and beliefs is instilled in us, plus the welfare system in Denmark does the rest. Whilst I experience all the benefits of having residency in Denmark, I can’t help but miss home a little.

Life in Denmark has changed her a lot and shifted her future perspectives too. As a full time student with only 80 hours of work per month to pay back her studies, life is not that easy. Even though she wanted to pursue international studies and communication since she was nine, studying right now is not as enjoyable as it seems; in this moment of life she has changed her plans of pursuing the Master studies right after the Bachelor and instead thinking of taking some time off to follow her passions like singing, dancing, modelling and writing poems for the poetry club. “I would love to see where that leads. This is the part of life's journey I call it the ‘Gift Unboxing’”.

Copyrights ©Gianni Pisanu


About the author

GiPP Design is a creative digital studio with a big passion for photography, videography and design. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, available across countries.

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