Management and employees need support in the changes in work caused by digitalisation

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The SWiPE research project conducted a case study that gathered observations about the impact of automation on work and solutions to problems with its measurement. The results of the case study has been published as a brief Analyzing the Transformation of Work and Its Effects on Productivity in the Age of Automatization?, Etla Brief 78.

The case study focused in a governmental payment service organization (The Finnish Government Shared Services Centre for Finance and HR, Palkeet), a key organisation providing support and expert services for the state administration. Palkeet is particularly valuable as a research subject, as it is a pioneer of the state administration in the development of digital robotics in support of office work processes.

The study shows that automation and robotics bring variety to work routines and offer opportunities for new learning. At the same time, the flip side of the coin also came up: successive and constant changes make the workers insecure and confused. The study revealed a network of complex changes related to digital technology that affects both work and productivity.

The results suggest that the combined production of human-machine hybrid service brings with it complex challenges to assess the return on investment in work, productivity and automated work processes. In order to overcome these challenges, both management and employees need support and tools, such as those set out in the study, to understand and manage the changes in work caused by digitalisation.

The case study was carried out by SWiPE researchers Martti Kulvik and Tero Kuusi from Etla, Maarit Laiho and Maija Vähämäki from the University of Turku and Annina Ropponen from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

Read more about the brief on Etla’s website.