Technological advancements lead to rapid changes in how we work. Digital communication, such as email, video meetings, social media, and apps, is becoming increasingly integral to job performance and staying up to date on work-related information. This presents significant opportunities but also challenges. Digital technologies evolve rapidly and can be complex, requiring continuous and substantial adaptation. This project aims to explore the consequences of digital new ways of working for job content and work environment, in order to assess potential effects on employee health.

Flexible new ways of working, based on digital technologies, may entail increased demands for information management, and can imply a complexity that requires employees to cope and adapt. Often, novel technologies may disrupt work by not functioning as desired and expected. Additionally, flexible communication tools may blur the boundaries between work and personal life, lead to increased interruptions and disturbances, and consequently fragmentation of work processes.

In summary, the demands associated with new digital ways of working may be linked to increased psychological demands and “stress”. This is commonly referred to as “technostress” or “digital stress” and is also associated with reduced productivity, absenteeism, job dissatisfaction, and even increased risk of accidents. By examining various aspects of digital stress, we aim to contribute to the understanding of how organizations can support their employees and use digital work methods in a healthy and sustainable manner.

We will for instance explore whether the increased use of remote work may be associated with more digital stress and how this might impact work-life balance. Furthermore, we will investigate which resources in the work environment could counteract this. These issues will be explored through extensive workplace surveys in Norwegian companies, combined with smaller experimental studies. In these studies, we will examine how information overload and interruptions from digital technologies can affect the experience of a task and the associated emotions.

Project group: Jan Olav Christensen (project manager) and Lorena Trevino