Last week Gerolf Nauwerck and I did a presentation about Digital Work Environment at the Swedish Ergonomic Society’s yearly meeting. This blog post will shortly describe this presentation. It was the first time that Gerolf and I presented together, but despite limited time for preparing it went really well much thanks to Gerolf and an enthusiastic audience.
Gerolf started off the presentation by discussing the term Digital Work Environment that is used by for example Digitaliseringskommissionen, Prevent and Vision. For example Digitaliseringskommisionen defines it as:
“The work environment in the digital economy”.
There is no scientific definition of the word, and in research other terms are used such as work engagement and healthy work.
Twenty years ago there were numerous different professions that worked with different tools, but working life has changed and today most work is done using a computer or an iPad, or other ICT technology, see image below:
When looking at the digital work environment there are numerous alarm reports from health care such as Isabella Scandurras “Disturbing or Facilitating“. Most health care professionals use around 25 different computer systems in their work, and these are often not connected or made to work well together even though they spend much of their time working through these systems. Physicians spend around 50% of their time working with the computer, and around 50% doing other things such as meeting patients. There are numerous media articles about the problems with ICT in health care, see the picture of the blog post. The problems are alarming, and health care professionals are as a consequence not always positive to changes related to IT.
One example of digitalisation in health care is medical records online for patients. Most physicians and nurses are very worried of the effects of this system. Mostly they are worried about the effects on the patient, but they are also worried about the effects on their work environment through the following changes:
- Changes in well established work routines
- Time pressure
- Less time for preparation
- Increased risk of misjudgements
Health care is not the only area where the digital work environment is problematic. Unionen (one of the largest Swedish unions) distribute a yearly or biannual survey to their members to investigate the digital work environment. The sub-titles of their reports called “The digital work environment of white-collar workers” tell us about the results from the survey:
2008: Why doesn’t it get better?
2010: A system error?
2011: Always online – never relaxed
2012: One step forward and two steps back
2014: No lightning ahead
In the seminar we continued with discussing what is known about software development and success factors, and we presented the results from the CHAOS report and research reports that show that one of the most important things when developing good IT for work is user involvement. But I guess that you already knew that 🙂