The effects of digitization on the world of work are mainly referred to in German-language specialist literature under the term work 4.0. The term was also coined by the federal government. In contrast to Industry 4.0, the focus is on work models and forms of work with a focus on knowledge work. In the following I would like to present two studies that represent the current status of Work 4.0.

Study 1: Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

The first study was carried out in 2016 on behalf of Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS 2016). When The basis is over 12,000 qualitative interviews with various people Employees from Germany across all industries and hierarchical levels. More thematic The focus was on the design of work models in companies with the Focus on place / time, use of technology, education, social security and participation.

The active design of the place of work and the According to the experts questioned, working hours should be an essential criterion for the The future of work. Teleworking, remote working and Home office. Part-time models and flexitime should also be important working models in the context of digitization, according to the study.

Another focus is the use of Technology in Business. So should the use of computers, of modern Software as well as Industry 4.0 applications are a decisive factor Play a role in everyday work, which means that the time in front of computer screens will increase significantly and standard tasks are increasingly being outsourced to technology become.

The next focus relates to the topic (Further education. Due to the increased use of computers it is becoming increasingly common expected higher qualifications. The further training in the form of Computer courses is a crucial aspect here. In addition, for so-called ‘Low wage earners’ (e.g. unskilled workers) run the risk of the current job could be automated, putting this professional group at risk is.

Another aspect is social security. It shows that the security of professional careers and employment contracts is lower has become, even in large corporations, which has long been considered comparative certainly counted. By contrast, the risk of job loss has in many Professions increased. The study participants confirm an increased Insecurity on the job market and show a need for social security by the state or for a secure job z. B. in public sector.

The last focus concerns employee participation in the company. A distinction is made between collective and individual co-determination: At the collective level, employee representatives and the exchange of employee representatives with board members are required. At the individual level, more influence on one’s own field of activity, on the degree of self-realization at work and on personal advancement should be enabled.

Study 2: IDG Research Center

The second study was from the IDG research center (2018) carried out. The aim was to examine the workplace in context of digitization. Over 300 IT managers and 300 Interviewed company experts. The focus of the study is adaptation of the entire IT in the workplace to the requirements of employees and Customers.

They see the biggest challenges at the moment surveyed study participants on the following points:

  • Adaptation of the IT infrastructure (50,9 %),
  • Data security (48%),
  • Setting standards (26%),
  • Effective linking of IT (22.5%) and
  • Replacement of legacy systems (19.6%).

In addition, the most important wishes of employees in the workplace were included in the study. Above all, the following were mentioned: flexible working hours, fast and efficient IT, a feel-good atmosphere at the workplace thanks to new office concepts, ergonomics and teamwork as well as a large number of self-services in the IT area. In addition to efficient IT, realizing these wishes often involves renovating existing office space. The following illustration shows what you want.

Desires of employees for the workplace of the future (n = 300) (own illustration based on IDG 2018)

Another point in the study relates to the hardware and software equipment in the workplace. The hardware such as smartphones, several monitors, tablets and the cooperation of the mentioned hardware z. B. by integrating software or docking stations. On the other hand, software for video conferencing and chat systems are mentioned. In this point, too, the cooperation of the software is important for the study participants (see figure).

Current requirements of employees for the office workstation (n = 300) (own illustration according to IDG 2018)

Conclusion

According to the experts questioned, the active design of the place of work and working hours should be an essential criterion for the future of work. The studies provide numerous information on hardware and software. In addition, the most important wishes of employees in the workplace were included in the study. In addition to efficient IT, realizing these wishes often involves renovating existing office space.

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BMAS. (2016). World of values 4.0. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.bmas.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/PDF-Publikationen/Forschungsberichte/wertewelten-arbeiten-vier-null.pdf;jsessionid=DD818B61A983EC4DBBC558215A0DCC78?__blob=publicationFile&v=2

IDG 2018 – Workplace of the Future – https://www.arbeitsplatzderzukunft.de/wp-content/uploads/IDG-Studie_Arbeitsplatz-der-Zukunft_2018.pdf

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Dr. Dominic Lindner
Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.