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New research project for today’s world of work

Wortwolke Arbeitsverdichtung (Bild: FAU/Roman Soucek)
FAU/Roman Soucek

FAU WiSo researchers are investigating the causes and consequences of work intensification

Digitalization makes it possible for us to complete more work in the same amount of time. However, the increasing speed at which we receive information and tasks can also have a negative impact on the workforce. In a research project at the Chair of Psychology (Economic and Social Psychology), and the Institute and Outpatient Clinic of Occupational, Social, and Environmental Medicine at FAU, researchers are investigating the requirements of today’s world of work and are highlighting how employees can deal with stress. The German statutory accident insurance provider for employers (Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung) is funding the project with approximately 450,000 euros.

In an increasingly connected and digital world, the world of work is undergoing fundamental change. Access to information is easier and collaboration is more flexible. Smartphones and laptops mean that employees can be contacted and keep working at all times, no matter where they are. One consequence of this is that the boundaries between work and leisure time become blurred, and another is that the working environment changes, which can have an impact on employees’ health.

Work that was completed one task at a time in the past using analogue systems is now increasingly carried out in parallel using software platforms. These new work processes enable work of a higher quality to be completed at a quicker rate, thereby releasing potential for growth. Whilst this means that more work can be carried out in the same amount of time, it also means that skills employees have become outdated and they have to learn new ones. This can also pose a risk to employees’ physical and mental health. Bearing this in mind, suitable measures must be put in place to identify health risks caused by these aspects of work intensification and to counteract them.

FAU researchers led by Prof. Dr. Klaus Moser and Prof. Dr. med. Hans Drexler are investigating the causes and consequences of this work intensification in a research project called ‘ArbeitsVerdichtung Erlangen-NUErnberg (AVENUE)’ and are compiling instruments for analysis and preventive measures on a web-based platform. This platform provides support to experts such as specialists for occupational safety, company health management staff and company doctors, as well as employer’s liability insurance providers and accident insurance providers with specifying new forms of work intensification, identifying their causes and defining needs-based approaches for dealing with them in a manner that is favourable for the workload.

More information is available on the project’s website.

Further information

Dr Roman Soucek
Phone: +49 911 5302 245
roman.soucek@fau.de