For several years, a common thread of conversation at Davos has wound around the dramatic changes that technology and data are bringing to all aspects of our lives and work. The disruptive effects of the rise of the robots, as some like to describe it. Despite all the advantages new technology brings, it has been a conversation interwoven with concerns for the overall impact on employment levels and on the types of work people can do. Now those are real concerns, but I like to be optimistic. This year, more than ever before, we’re hearing the counterpart to that disruptive technology story. We’re hearing about the rapidly growing understanding of the importance of a positive human experience in the workplace. The premium value of a mutually beneficial relationship between new technology and new work-styles, and how that drives innovation, productivity, employee satisfaction and performance.
We chose human experience in the workplace as the theme for our JLL Davos 2018 panel discussion this morning, an event that featured as an affiliated part of the wider World Economic Forum program. Thanks to an uplifting and thoroughly engaging discussion among our guest panellists – Bernard Tyson, Jo Ann Jenkins, Mara Swan and Farnam Jahanian – I started the day with a real spring in my step. As is also captured in JLL’s new Future of Workplace research report, there is growing awareness of the means to create an inspiring and beneficial balance in the rapidly evolving workplace relationship between people and technology. Perhaps the robots are here to help us after all.
These are topics the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting will continue to address in its wider agenda this week. How we integrate a rewarding working experience with changing technology is a vitally important part of this year’s Davos theme of Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World. In a world where the political direction of travel too often seems fragmented, there is a sense that business leaders understand more than ever the vital importance of a clear and motivational sense of purpose in their organisations. I’m looking forward to hearing many more viewpoints and ideas as the week progresses – and hopefully keeping a firm hold on that strong sense of optimism. I’ll let you know how that goes in my next blog on Thursday.