Does technological innovation promote well-being at work?

Does technological innovation promote well-being at work?

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According to a survey conducted in 2016 by the company Aon Hewitt, the well-being of employees is a major concern for only 13% of companies.

The various surveys show that today employees have high expectations regarding their work. In fact, the time when workers spent their entire careers within the same company are over. Today, the relationship between employees and their company has been reversed. It is up to the employee to take charge of his career and at the same time his professional life.

Among the elements constituting professional life, we obviously find the nature of the position and the associated missions or even the remuneration. However, working conditions are also parameters that are taken more and more into account by employees. Is my job fulfilling? Does it offer me all the conditions to accomplish my professional and personal project? Does it demand all of my time, and should I maybe get something freelance instead like the truck driver job I love so much?

In this article we are going to ask ourselves the question of the place of innovation in well-being at work. Indeed, we live in a world in constant technological evolution, constantly reinventing new ways of working in cloud service.

What is well-being at work?

A study conducted jointly by Mozart Consulting and the Apicil Group shows that ill-being at work cost 13,500 euros in France… per employee!

Well-being at work: a hot topic

All the actors of the company do not have the same definition and conception of what concerns well-being in a professional context.

Some may for example conceive of it as the absence of stress or any other negative perception while others perceive it as being conducive conditions offering the individual positive perceptions.

These differences in definitions are not trivial. In addition, the means put in place by companies to promote well-being at work can again differ widely, and this is often due to differences in perception of the problem. Thus, a company will be able to act only when a situation becomes critical, while another will be proactive in taking charge of its employees to improve their situation before the emergence of any problems related to ill-being at work.

For our part, we will base ourselves on the definition given by the World Health Organization. This is indeed the most legitimate source given that the WHO has been working for the improvement of public health since the second half of the 20th century.

Thus, according to the WHO, well-being at work is “a dynamic state of mind, characterized by a satisfactory harmony between the skills, needs and aspirations of the worker, on the one hand, and the constraints and possibilities of the workplace, on the other hand ”.

Two very distinct ideas emerge from this definition. First, the employee and his subjectivity. That is, how he perceives himself, and how he perceives his capacities to be able to achieve things. Second, the characteristics of the position, which are already much more objectivable. This definition also takes a position and defends the idea of ​​well-being as being the conditions offering a positive perception of one’s position.

How do the various technological innovations intervene in relation to this definition of well-being? What link can be established between technological innovation and well-being at work?

Technological innovation as a factor for improving well-being at work?
A study conducted by the Radicati firm showed that on average private sector employees, all sectors combined, received 72 emails per day!

More complex than it seems!

Today, we are widely surrounded by new technologies in both our private and professional spheres: from the morning, with the alarm clock and televised news that roam the world, to the evening, with phones and their applications to entertain us.

The world of work is not left out with processes and operating methods that have been impacted by new technologies. A first example: professional emails. The democratization of computers, globalized internet connections and other associated technologies such as mobile phones, allow employees to be reachable at any time. How many employees have already received emails in the evening or at the weekend? The disorganization of work caused by emails, too many or sent during the employee’s rest period, can quickly become problematic. While its designer initially saw this communication tool as medium-term, more and more employees see it as an immediate request.

A second example: teleworking. This is a way of working that developed several decades ago in the United States and which allows employees to exercise their jobs from home. More and more companies in France are developing this mode of operation, which makes it possible to improve the working conditions of employees.

They no longer have to take public transport, and therefore have more suitable schedules to reconcile their professional and personal life. In addition, the time saved by saving hours spent in public transport or in the car allows them to work more and perform better.

Teleworking is only enabled by the development of technological innovation. In fact, without an internet connection or extensive security protocols for so-called sensitive activities, teleworking could not have existed. In this specific case, technological innovation is undoubtedly a factor in improving the working conditions of employees.

A double-edged impact on employees?

According to a study conducted by Anact in 2016, digital technology represents an opportunity for more than half of employees!

Technological innovation has both good and bad sides

In light of these two cases, it is difficult to make a radical decision about the consequences of technological innovation on well-being at work. The first case, illustrated by the example of anxiety-inducing emails, clearly demonstrates that technological innovation can contribute to the development of poor working conditions. The second example shows how new technologies can benefit employees with significant advantages. What to remember?

The reality is rarely straightforward and straightforward. Indeed, the impact of technological innovation on the lives of employees depends on many factors, such as the use made of it by everyone. Thus, the use of employees and the expectations they have regarding technological innovations will condition their relationship, more or less healthy, to these new tools.

If we want technological innovations to promote well-being at work, we must provide employees with a certain user education. This can, for example, involve training programs that draw the line between professional and private time. Managers and corporate culture must also follow so that prevention programs and / or good use of the digital tool are applied.

The relationship between innovation and well-being at work is therefore not a simple linear relationship. In some cases, new technologies have perfectly improved the working conditions of employees, while in other situations, these same innovations have degraded them. To make the most of the relationship between technological innovation and well-being at work, it is necessary to agree on the concept of well-being at work and to rethink the new uses that must be associated with it!

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