The potential of the psychosocial work environment to impair and improve employee health is well known from decades of research. However, societal changes bring about new forms of work and novel, unforeseen work environment challenges that
may influence employee health and limit the degree to which innovations and technology improve work and productivity.

Periods of rapid technological and organizational change involve an inherent lack of predictability – and potentially insecurity – and may additionally entail work exposures that are novel in many respects. The extent to which this influences employee health and quality of life is unknown. One already apparent consequence of digitalization and automation, and the rationalization of production, is downsizing of companies.

Downsizing is accompanied by job- and employment insecurity and may influence the psychological and somatic health also of those who do not lose their job (i.e. “survivor sickness”). This may partly be due to the psychological harm of being under threat, but also due to impacts on work environment and job content factors that are well known to influence productivity and health, such as job control and – demands.

Another aspect of digitalization is the possibility of extensive reporting of subtasks which may seem to imply that more work tasks are performed according to fixed procedures. Consequences for employees are unknown, but one possible side effect is that job control, empowerment attenuates for many.


The current project will study implications of emerging forms of work for psychosocial factors that may influence health. Three major parts are planned:
1. A literature study, with an intermediary working paper,
2. A Nordic Delphi study with a paper publishable in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and
3. A final report outlining new factors that must be considered in future policy formation regarding work environment in the Nordic context.

Project group

Project leader: Jan Olav Christensen

Morten Birkeland Nielsen

Live Bakke Finne

Further publications

Report from the Nordic Council of Ministers: Future of the Nordic Psychosocial work environment – Implications for Occupational Health

Chapter 5 in the TemaNord 2021 report “The Future of Work in the Nordic countries: Opportunities and Challenges for the Nordic Working Life Models”: The future of the Nordic psychosocial work environment: implications for occupational health