Analysis of a modified strain profile from an occupational safety and health (OSH) perspective
Increasing digitization means that more and more digital information and communication tools (ICT) are being used in the work context. This changes the stress and strain profile, especially for knowledge workers. In this context, a technology-specific form of stress is becoming increasingly relevant: digital stress.
To gain a better understanding of the impact and the prevalence of digital stress in Germany, the first step was to design, conduct and evaluate a quantitative nationwide survey with 5.000 participants. Based on this, measures for preventing digital stress were developed, tested and evaluated. Twelve demands of digital work experienced to varying degrees by knowledge workers negatively related to health and work ability were identified. As measures to counteract these factors, a guideline for developing a cross-organizational concept for digital communication and technology use as well as a training to educate multipliers were developed. In addition, online training courses were created to build up employees' skills. All measures were tested and evaluated in terms of effectiveness.
The project showed that the perception of digital stress is pronounced in Germany and that specific measures can be used for counteracting it. However, these can only develop their full potential if they are supported by all levels in a company. Here, it is important to further sensitize policy-makers and practitioners to this emerging form of stress, especially against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting acceleration of digitalization.
The research and development project "Prevention for safe and healthy working with digital technologies (PräDiTec)" was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the Program "Innovations for Tomorrow's Production, Services, and Work" (funding number: 02L16D034) and managed by the Project Management Agency Karlsruhe (PTKA).
Unit 2.3 "Human Factors, Ergonomics"