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The future of work

15.09.2020

What are the implications of the big reset on the future of work? Frank Kumli takes a look at the challenges and opportunities we will face, be it globally or in the Basel Area.

Switzerland Innovation Park Basel at Novartis Campus

The post-covid world will be different

The potential disruption of economic activity is massive: will there be jobs in the future? How will automation and robotics change the job landscape? On top of that, we are now facing tremendous uncertainty regarding the impact of the pandemic on our economic environment and on the way we work.

The world is reacting, adapting and transforming fast. Work is being reorganized alongside three dimensions:

1. Organization of work: Moving to distributed work

Work moves towards a distributed workforce that reaches beyond the traditional environment. Take Novartis, for example. The pharma company from Basel has recently offered its 110’000 associates the choice to decide how, where and when they work to create the greatest impact for their role.

2. Employee well-being: Enabling individual resilience

The future of work in this distributed environment will include a stronger focus on employee wellbeing. It encompasses and strengthens the emotional and mental health of the collaborators.

3. Infrastructure: Ensuring the right enablers for distributed work

Office environments will represent much more than a workplace. Instead, the office can be understood as a place where employees and stakeholders come together to create value. New types of space will emerge. Accelerator and incubator spaces will become vital components of workplaces.

We can see a stronger focus on human centricity and experience in the workplace: The workplace becomes an environment that helps individuals and businesses craft and experience a rewarding fusion of life and work.

In terms of operational excellence and digitalization, it is obvious that companies are embracing technological advancements such as automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence to seamlessly enable distributed work.

Furthermore, the role of physical clusters is becoming more critical than ever to drive innovation and economic growth. The cluster becomes even more important in an environment where critical drivers of economic development, such as innovation and entrepreneurial risk-taking, are hindered by the uncertain macroeconomic context and by the arrangements resulting from the reorganization of work.

We believe that, in this context, industry clusters such as the Basel Area and supporting organizations are becoming more relevant than ever to catalyze innovation and drive economic development.
They enable to:

  1. drive forward a common vision of a desirable future of work that is adapted to the industries they are nurturing
  2. activate an environment for collaborative and entrepreneurial environment
  3. reinvent space (beyond offices) for innovation and to provide dedicated and purpose-built space for safe collaborative innovation.
  4. catalyze the development of infrastructure such as the GRID Campus of Collaboration to accelerate innovation and associated local economic development.

This text is a summary of the event Talk & Inspire that took place on 26 August 2020 by Frank Kumli who also moderated the event.

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