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Anticipating and managing the impact of change

Anticipating and managing the impact of change is one of the six main activities in Eurofound’s work programme for the 2021–2024 period. Eurofound will provide evidence on structural developments affecting the EU economy and labour markets, driven largely by digitalisation and the transition to a carbon-neutral economy, but also by the COVID-19 crisis. The research is intended to assist policymakers in anticipating and preparing European labour markets and workplaces for these changes.


Recent updates


Regulatory responses to algorithmic management in the EU

Since 2013, Eurofound's ERM database on restructuring-related legislation has been documenting regulatory developments in the Member States of the European Union and Norway. The most recent update to the database...


Not only do we need appropriate policy measures to drive the shift to a carbon-neutral economy, we also need sound policy to ensure no one is left behind – we...


Key policy messages

The main findings emerging from Eurofound research serve as input for policymakers to address some of the key issues in this area.

  • Supporting employers and workers in the twin transition to the digital age and to a carbon-neutral economy is critical. In addition to these structural developments, the recent COVID-19 pandemic presents a huge challenge for the European economy and labour market.
  • New forms of employment such as platform work and ICT-based mobile work are a growing presence in European labour markets. Driven by the use of ICT, these are characterised by new types of employment relations between employer and employee, changing work organisation and work patterns. They will bring both opportunities and risks for EU labour markets facing the transition to a carbon-neutral economy and to a digital transformation against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Digital technologies are transforming work and the workplace, triggering changes on the labour market such as restructuring and job losses, and new job profiles are also starting to emerge. Task profiles in jobs are adapting because of the digitalisation of production and service provision. The result is a demand for different skills.
  • It will be important to investigate the joint effects of digitalisation and the transition to a carbon-neutral economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they reinforce each other, or how the benefits of one can offset the negative effects of the other.
  • The technology-driven potential to produce, collect and use a large amount of data can improve competitiveness of European business and job quality. However, ensuring that issues like data ownership and data protection are clarified, well-regulated and implemented will be key to avoiding exploitation and unethical behaviour.

2021–2024 work plan

From 2021 onwards, Eurofound will provide insights into the impact of these megatrends on living and working conditions in the EU. In the area of digitalisation, research will focus on the impact on employment and working conditions, as well as on the labour market. Areas to be covered will include social dialogue and its role in shaping structural change, regulatory frameworks, social protection and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Building on previous research on platform work, the 2021–2024 period will be an opportunity to focus on mapping and providing an assessment of the effectiveness of policy initiatives in tackling the challenges identified with platform work.

Eurofound will also aim to support the EU’s transition to a carbon-neutral economy, including the circular economy and the implementation of the EU’s recovery instrument NextGenerationEU, by investigating the socioeconomic effects. These include employment shifts and the transformation of jobs and working conditions, as well as the distributional impact of climate change policies. Some of this work will build on the results of a pilot project on the future of manufacturing (FOME) carried out by Eurofound.

To continue this work in 2021–2024, Eurofound will cooperate with various international organisations and EU agencies, for example with the European Environment Agency (EEA) in the area of social impacts of climate change policies. Furthermore, existing collaboration with other research actors in the fields of digitalisation – the Joint Research Centre (JRC), Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) – will be consolidated. Further partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) is also foreseen on the subject of the changing world of work.

Addressing stakeholder priorities

Eurofound’s research aims to assist policy action to address the transitions to both a carbon-neutral economy and the digital age in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as helping to understand the impact of these changes at EU and national levels. For example, research on the impact of these drivers of change on the workplace level will provide insight into how to best support employers and workers so they can seize the opportunities and mitigate the challenges related to these developments. Eurofound’s research will also seek to support businesses in their efforts to adapt to a constantly evolving global economy. Furthermore, the examination of the distributional impacts of climate change policies and of measures to ensure social justice will provide knowledge to help implement the Just Transition Fund. The monitoring of reforms and recent financial support will also allow for an exchange of policy approaches and lessons learned.

The Agency’s work plan is aligned with the European Commission’s political guidelines for 2021–2024, feeding directly into a number of key policy areas aimed at creating a strong social Europe. In particular, the research will support the following Commission priorities:


Eurofound research

In 2024, Eurofound continues its research on the impact of digitalisation and the transition to a climate-neutral economy on working life. 

Various research strands linked with the digital and green transitions come to completion. This includes research into the impact of new developments in human–machine interaction on work organisation and working conditions. Research concludes on the impact of changes caused by the twin transitions at the sectoral level, focusing on the transformation of business activities, occupational and skill profiles, work organisation and working conditions. And analysis wraps up on the roles, opportunities and challenges of policy actors in the just transition, examining the design and implementation of Just Transition policies at the regional level, their mechanisms and the actors involved. 

Research continues on the impact of the green and digital transitions on the labour market and labour market actors with a project to explore company restructuring approaches and their ongoing adaptation strategies. Further research takes place on the socioeconomic impact of the transition to a carbon-neutral economy, monitoring the employment and social dimension of the green transition.

New research focuses on how managers’ roles and functions are impacted by the increase in telework and the shift towards more hybrid working in terms of challenges and opportunities.

The ongoing monitoring of the developments in the platform economy continues through Eurofound’s regularly updated web repository. Building on previous studies on platform work and the ongoing monitoring of policies and measures with regard to platform work through the web repository, new research focuses on the working conditions of online platform workers. This work aims to explore the characteristics of online platform workers and how they fare in relation to contractual arrangements and job quality, including pay, work intensity, working time, occupational health and safety, social environment and career prospects. It also explores the career goals of platform workers. 

Key outputs


Eurofound's 2024 work programme is set in the context of the upcoming European elections, war in Ukraine, renewed Middle East conflict and rising cost of living across the EU.

23 January 2024
Work programme

The year 2022 opened with cautious optimism. Europe was emerging from two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, with NextGenerationEU setting out a plan for a recovery that builds a strong...

4 May 2023
Annual report

Eurofound expert(s)


Tina Weber is a research manager in Eurofound’s Working Life unit. Having previously shared her time between the Employment and Working Life units, her work has focused on labour...

Research manager,
Working life research unit
Publications results (64)

In this report, we provide projections of how the Fit for 55 policy package may affect the sectoral and occupational structure of employment in the EU by 2030, and the impacts across different regions and countries.

25 October 2023

Automation and digitisation technologies, including artificial intelligence, are rapidly evolving and becoming increasingly powerful and pervasive. The full range of their effects in the workplace is yet to be seen. It is, however, important not only to explore the ethical implications of digital te

12 September 2023

This report explores the dynamics of the environmental performance of the EU Member States and the extent to which the disparities in their performance have narrowed since the early 2000s. The report is a product of cooperation between Eurofound and the European Environment Agency, with the

03 August 2023

The EU’s transition to a climate-neutral economy requires nothing short of a clean industrial revolution. This report explores the potential socioeconomic implications of such fundamental change for different European regions and population groups, following a foresight approach. Scenario-focused

19 June 2023

The rise of the platform economy during the last decade is one of the main disrupting forces for European labour markets. While standard employment remains the norm, platforms are expanding their reach and diversifying into novel business models. In doing so, they are also attracting an increasing n

16 May 2023

The year 2022 opened with cautious optimism. Europe was emerging from two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, with NextGenerationEU setting out a plan for a recovery that builds a strong and sustainable future. The Russian attack on Ukraine early in the year changed the situation dramatically, however

04 May 2023

The report explores plausible and imaginable scenarios examining how telework and hybrid work in the EU might have developed by 2035, and their implications for the world of work. How prepared are managers and employees, employer organisations and trade unions, and policymakers for the greater

28 April 2023

This paper presents an analytical summary of current academic and policy literature on the impact of climate change and policies to manage the transition to a carbon-neutral economy on four key domains: employment, working conditions, social dialogue and living conditions. It maps the main empirical

12 April 2023

The retail banking sector is fertile ground for studying the impacts of digitalisation on work and employment. Financial services are increasingly provided online, without the intermediary of customer-facing institutions. Many banks in the sector have been undergoing serial restructuring since the g

26 September 2022

Digitisation and automation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), can affect working conditions in a variety of ways and their use in the workplace raises a host of new ethical concerns. Recently, the policy debate surrounding these concerns has become more prominent and has

30 May 2022

Online resources results (48)

Regulatory responses to algorithmic management in the EU

Since 2013, Eurofound's ERM database on restructuring-related legislation has been documenting regulatory developments in the Member States of the European Union and Norway. The most recent update to the database captures new legislation concerning the use of algorithmic management in the employment

Climate change objectives and decarbonisation measures are vital for the future of Europe. But how will these objectives impact employment and the labour market? In this episode of the Eurofound Talks podcast series, Mary McCaughey speaks with Eurofound Senior Research Manager John Hurley about new

22 November 2023
Image of a group of cyclists crossing at a street junction.

Facing up to the social realities of the green transition

The European Green Deal binds the European Union to becoming a climate-neutral territory by 2050. As part of this, the European Climate Law (June 2021) commits the EU to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% (compared with 1990 levels) by 2030. To achieve this, a fundamental transformati


Coronavirus highlights sick pay void for platform workers

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is starting to have a serious impact on the world economy. The consequences for platform workers are especially severe in light of forced work stoppages due to self-isolation and lack of sick pay in many cases. Recent media coverage shows that platform workers in


Amazon’s expansion in Europe

The U.S. online retail giant Amazon is investing heavily in Europe, creating 11,580 jobs in 2018 alone. As Europe turns towards e-commerce, automation and digitalisation, Amazon will play a key role in reshaping the retail sector. But its impacts are unlikely to be confined to retail alone.


Lloyds bank’s digital transformation

Lloyds Banking Group is investing £3 billion (€3.35 billion) in technology and staff to improve its digital services. As a result, the Group has announced that it is cutting over 6,000 existing positions while creating 8,000 new jobs oriented towards digital technologies. The move reflects the

Platform work and employment conditions Informal meeting of EU Employment and Social Policy Ministers (EPSCO), 19 July 2018, Vienna, Austria Presentation by Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Director, Eurofound

19 July 2018

Task profiles development in response to future job needs EMCO meeting, 22 March 2018, Sofia, Bulgaria Presentation by Martina Bisello, Research Officer, Eurofound

27 March 2018

Spain: AXA recognises workers’ right to turn phones off out of working hours

The beginning of 2017 witnessed increasing debate on allowing workers to disconnect their digital devices after working hours. In July 2017, insurance company AXA became the first company in Spain to recognise workers’ right to do so. The government is currently studying possible legislation in

Blogs results (27)

Not only do we need appropriate policy measures to drive the shift to a carbon-neutral economy, we also need sound policy to ensure no one is left behind – we need to ensure a just transition.

2 May 2024

‘Building back better’ is not just an empty slogan – we need the construction sector to help us achieve our climate targets. Eurofound research reveals that construction is where the Fit for 55 climate policy package will generate the most net new employment.

4 December 2023

The platform economy is one of those moving targets, which, despite receiving increasing media and policy attention, has proven difficult to regulate. Given the heterogeneity of employment relationships, business models, types of platform work and cross-border issues, this is not surprising. Yet, in

27 September 2022

Rising energy prices are putting more people under increased financial pressure and at greater risk of energy poverty. In this data story, we take a closer look at the data from the fifth round of the Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey to explore the extent of the issue and the threat of energy p

3 August 2022

Telework has become a permanent feature of working life in Europe. While we’ve seen the benefits of more flexible ways of working – particularly during the pandemic – the problems that arise from an increasingly connected life are also becoming clearer. Unfortunately, legislation alone may not be en

13 July 2022

The answer is yes – potentially. Assessing the environmental benefits of telework is a complex task, because any move to work from home involves a series of changes in individuals’ daily lives and activities, as well as company-level decisions, that may positively or negatively influence the level o

23 June 2022

Whether it is couch surfing, baby-sitting, pizza delivery or getting Ikea furniture assembled by somebody who can do it better, platforms can mediate all kinds of voluntary or professional services. Platform work is at the heart of the ‘sharing economy’. But while this may sound like a new form of

31 March 2022

The advent of AI has far more consequences for how work is organised, performed and valued than any previous technological revolution. In order to make the most of this digital transformation we need inclusive and nuanced policy debates on its employment effects and how to future-proof policies: we

8 December 2021

COVID-19 has shown that some things can hit us out of the blue. The pandemic sent a shockwave through businesses all over the world and has brought massive changes to work organisation, internal communication and day-to-day operations for many companies. Doubtless, the depth of the pandemic’s impact

21 June 2021

On 9 May, the Conference on the Future of Europe will get underway. Floated well before the COVID-19 outbreak, its timing in the wake of the seismic shifts precipitated by the pandemic, and its implementation alongside the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, means that the outcomes could b

4 May 2021


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