Future of Work - Major trends

New technologies are bringing opportunities and challenges to working lives

The emergence of new technologies and means of production, coupled with the desire to improve work-life balance, has led to the development of new forms of work, notably telework and ICT-mobile work (T/ICTM). In fact, among a sample of 15 countries, the figure below suggests that high use of ICT is also associated with higher levels of work autonomy, regardless of the place of work (see the figure below). However, these forms of work, including telework, appear to be associated with higher levels of work intensity.

Figure: Indexes of autonomy and intensity in relation to working outside the employer’s premises and frequency of use of ICT

Note: The categories are: regular home-based teleworker, high mobile T/ICTM worker, occasional T/ICTM worker, and ‘always at employer’s premises’. High ICT workers have a high level of ICT use. The other groups have mid to low or no ICT use. 
* Indexes were elaborated by Eurofound based on the results of the European Working Conditions Survey 2015
Source: Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work (ILO-Eurofound, 2017).

T/ICTM work has improved work-life balance via reduced commuting time and increased autonomy to organize one’s working time. At the same time, it is has led to longer hours, increased ambiguity between paid work and personal time that requires people to be constantly available – all of which is associated with higher levels of stress. Looking forward, as these new forms of work are likely to intensify in the age of digitisation, working time regulations will need to reflect these new realities in an effort to harness the opportunities and benefits that T/ICTM work offers, as well as address any potential downsides and risks to well-being.