The global advocacy campaign human change, launched last week in Davos during the World Economic Forum to raise awareness and instigate a transformation in the way the future workforce approach social media and the digitalisation of their lives and Arno Luginbühl from Kitoko People was part of it and shares exclusive insights.
What you will read
In this first session the panelists (for a detailed list of all panelists, please refer to the end of the article) investigated the direct correlation between “Human Change”—behavioral shifts resulting from digital addiction—and the future of the workforce. The panel considered the observations of industry leaders regarding the emerging future workforce, discussing the unique challenges they faced due to potential digital addictions. Secondly it debated the efficacy of various interventions and the optimal timing for such measures to preserve the productivity and well-being of the future workforce. Arno Luginbühl of Kitoko People was part of these highly relevant panel sessions and shares the key insights. Finally, as part of the future workforce, he makes a statement on his learnings based on the events and on his expertise within the young generation.
Let’s dive in with Ebru Özdemir: As technology continues to advance with greater automation and the integration of artificial intelligence into various aspects of our lives, it brings about immense opportunities for progress and efficiency. However, it also raises concerns and dangers, particularly regarding the welfare and use of technology by kids. This is the first event at the world economic forum in in which we talk about the other side of the coin and the effects of these new technologies.
“Technology raises concerns and dangers, particularly in regard to the welfare and utilization of technology by kids’’- Ebru Özdemir
Dr. Phil McRae reports on what the other side of the coin how it looks like from his work in schools. He concludes that Children these days are physically connected through technology, yet emotionally disconnected. What I observe are Children which walk around school, engrossed in their phones, creating a sense of „being alone together“ with their peers.
“Children walk around in schools and creating a sense of being alone together” – Dr. Phil McRae
While evidence supporting the ban of phones in the classroom may be lacking, the challenge lies not in being anti-technology or focusing solely on digital literacy; instead, it’s about finding the right balance. With that much screen it is difficult to have a connection to oneself and to find the own belonging, says Kim Samuel.
“With that much screen it is difficult to have a connection to oneself and to find the own belonging”. – Kim Samuel
This comprehensive issue extends beyond children and initiates a critical discussion that encompasses the older generation. It underscores the pivotal role of parents as influencers and guides in fostering healthy relationships with emerging technologies. Consequently, fostering responsible and informed technology usage within families becomes a cornerstone in building a digitally literate and balanced society.
“We don’t have to talk just about AI (artificial intelligence) but rather about PI (parental intelligence)”. – Dr. Michael Rich
According to Dr. Phil McRae, the following three points are essential within families when it comes to dealing with phones and digital technologies:
- Be mindful in using the phone and digital technologies.
- Create a safe space: No phones during meal times or when it’s time to go to bed.
- Be present: For instance, don’t let notifications interrupt your presence.
If we examine the labor market, Andy Moose emphasizes the following points the implications of technology on future workforce socialization and behavior in the workplace:
- Challenges in Socialization: Difficulties in socializing arose due to excessive technology usage.
- Maintaining Focus: Staying focused on tasks became increasingly challenging when distracted by digital devices.
- Distraction on the Playground: Children were more inclined to use smartphones instead of engaging in traditional playground activities.
- Increased Workplace Aggression: There is a growing concern about rising levels of aggression in the workplace, which influence by digital distractions.
Various interventions to preserve the well-being of the future workforce
Lauren Duprey considers mental health awareness as extremely important and aims to reduce the stigma associated with it. To raise awareness within families on this topic for example with the World Mental Health Day is really important.
“Mental health awareness is extremely important and reducing the stigma surrounding this topic is also fundamental.” – Lauren Duprey
One common myth she challenges is the misconception that Generation Z is not committed. In reality, the youngest individuals within this generation are among the most dedicated and engaged within the workplace, show as study from a survey within Takeda.
Based on his research, Mich Prinstein highlights the following characteristics of the future workforce.
- Social anxiety, which is associated with the prefrontal cortex.
- Social anxiety, especially in public and in-person settings.
- An increased emphasis on feedback.
- Inclinations toward impulsivity.
- Vulnerability to anxiety.
Following his statements, Mich Prinstein then asks the panelists a pertinent question based on his research: „How do you plan to prepare for the evolving workforce?“ This inquiry seeks to delve into the strategies and preparations necessary for adapting to the changing labor market dynamics.
There is silence in the room as it is a difficult question and concerns everyone. Lauren Duprey says: We prepare by making well being of our people strategy, and provide the most important resources and the right tools. Establish a culture and leadership that fosters meaningful engagement without stigmatization. Ultimately, it’s essential to ensure that the work itself promotes a healthy work-life balance.
“In the end, it’s about how to preserve humanity and individuality; that’s the biggest problem: the deshumanization caused by the devices.” – Lauren Duprey.
Andy Moose added further points: Prioritize the preparation of middle management as they are the ones who interact most closely with the future workforce. Both employers and government bodies must focus on this topic, as they are currently not adequately ready for the upcoming challenges.
An important question for the future will be how to protect gen z employees: The increasing reliance on digital technology underscores a significant challenge: striking the right balance between our digital and personal lives while respecting our family life.
On the legal side, Gaia Bernstein explains the „right to disconnect“ initiative, initially introduced in France and subsequently adopted in various South American countries, revolves around formal agreements that define working hours: These agreements explicitly prohibit employees from making phone calls or sending work-related emails during specified non-working hours, that helps in separating work and leisure life.
“The right to disconnect’’: These agreements explicitly prohibit employees from making phone calls or sending work-related emails during specified non-working hours, that helps in separating work and leisure life. – Gaia Bernstein
With regard to this relevant and extremely important topic, we need to take the next steps to promote the mental health of the future workforce, and this concerns the fields politics, organizations and science.
At the end of the day, we can make a progress together. From Arno’s Luginbühl perspective, not just the DACH-Region but also the world has a substantial catch-up process ahead of it. This is precisely why we at Kitoko People are committed to a healthy workplace with an appropriate approach to digital media use of the future workforce. Let’s tackle this issue now!
Thank you to the Human Change for making this event possible!
Panelists detail list:
- Kim Samuel, Founder, Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness and Visiting Scholar,Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford,
- Ebru Özdemir, Chairwoman of Limak Holdings,
- Lauren Duprey, Chief Human Resources Officer at Takeda Pharmaceuticals,
- Andy Moose, Head of Health and Wellness at the World Economic Forum,
- Dr. Gaia Bernstein, Co-Director of the Gibbons Institute of Law Science and Technology at Seton Hall University School of Law,
- Dr. Phil McRae, Executive Staff Officer and Associate Coordinator of Government Research at The Alberta Teachers‘ Association.
- Larissa May, Founder of #HalfTheStory
- Moderator: Dr. Michael Rich, Founder of the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital.