29 March 2023
Digitalisation is the ongoing integration of digital technologies and digitised data across the economy and societyRead more
Digitalisation is the ongoing integration of digital technologies and digitised data across the economy and society. The twin green and digital transitions accelerate the pace of change affecting all aspects of our lives and will have many consequences for the future of work. Innovations and developments in advanced technologies are having significant effects in almost all areas of the economy. Work, its content, its organisation and design, its regulation and protection, are all undergoing change. This also often brings a blurring of boundaries between different dimensions of work and between work and non-work activity.Read less
Measures to tackle labour shortages: Lessons for future policy
Teleworking numbers double in EU to 41.7 million in 2021 bringing better work-life balance, more autonomy but longer working hours and isolation
The rise in telework: Impact on working conditions and regulations
The European way to a digitalised economy and society is about solidarity, prosperity and sustainability, anchored in empowerment of its citizens and businesses, ensuring the security and resilience of its digital ecosystem and supply chains.Read more
The European way to a digitalised economy and society is about solidarity, prosperity and sustainability, anchored in empowerment of its citizens and businesses, ensuring the security and resilience of its digital ecosystem and supply chains. Policymakers need to gain knowledge that will help to address questions about effective regulation, skills needs, how to ensure social protection in its broadest sense and balancing the demands of companies, societies and individuals in exploiting the great potential of digitalisation.
Responding to the way digital technology is changing the lives of EU citizens, one of the European Commission’s priorities for the period 2019–2024 is to create a Europe fit for the digital age, leading the transition to a healthy planet and a new digital world through its European Digital Strategy 2020–2025. Launched in February 2020, the Strategy aims to empower people with a new generation of technologies, helping to support the ‘just transition’ to a climate-neutral Europe via the European Green Deal.
As part of its Digital Services Act package, published on 15 December 2020, the Commission proposed two legislative initiatives to upgrade rules governing digital services in the EU: the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). These initiatives will change the way companies offer and use digital services. In response to the rapid development of platform work in the EU, the Commission launched a first-stage consultation of the social partners on 24 February 2021 on how to protect people working through digital platforms, followed by a second-stage consultation on 15 June 2021.
On 9 March 2021, the Commission issued its Communication setting out the vision for Europe’s digital decade, outlining a clear compass towards a successful digital transformation by 2030 in areas such as connectivity, skills and digital public services.
- European Commission: The European Digital Strategy
- European Commission: Revised Skills Agenda for Europe
- European Commission: The Digital Services Act package
- European Commission: Protecting people working through platforms: Commission launches second-stage consultation of social partners
- EUR-Lex: 2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade
In 2020, the European social partners approved an autonomous framework agreement on digitalisation.
Eurofound’s work on digitalisation links in with the Commission’s 2019–2024 priority on a Europe fit for the digital age.
- About Eurofound: EU priorities: Working for a strong social Europe
- European Commission: A Europe fit for the digital age
Eurofound research on anticipating and managing the impact of change will explore the impact of digitalisation on working life, as well as the links with the transition to a climate-neutral economy.Read more
Eurofound research on anticipating and managing the impact of change will explore the impact of digitalisation on working life, as well as the links with the transition to a climate-neutral economy. This will cover employment levels, working conditions, social protection and employment relations. In the context of restructuring and digitalisation, analysing the role of industrial relations and social dialogue in implementing such change is also important, as is the impact on society and citizens.
The research will provide evidence on structural changes, driven largely by these megatrends, but also by the COVID-19 crisis, that can inform policy in ensuring just transitions which promote employment, good working conditions, social protection and workers’ rights, while also improving labour productivity, competitiveness and prosperity.
Digitalisation in the workplace
Research looks at the effects of the deployment of digitalisation at company level on employment and working conditions, including social protection. Research on automation and digitisation will build on previous research on game-changing technologies, the nature of work in digitised workplaces, employee monitoring and privacy at the workplace, as well as on data from the European Company Survey (ECS) 2019. Eurofound will analyse the impact of digitalisation on working life, looking at the human and ethical implications of digitalisation at the workplace, also in the aftermath of COVID-19, as well as exploring the characteristics and effects of human–machine interaction related to advanced robotics.
Eurofound explores these topics in a body of work structured around three vectors of change in digitalisation – automation, digitisation and platforms – that are affecting employment and working conditions and social dialogue. The main results of this research have been compiled in an online resource, which presents a set of policy pointers, research digests and definitions, as well as an accompanying report. As it can be challenging to keep abreast of the constant advance of technology, the online resource has been created to provide policymakers, employers, workers and their representatives with insights on how digitalisation is reshaping employment and work. It will be updated over time in line with the developments in the society, economy, labour market and policy.
- Online resource: The digital age: Automation, digitisation and platforms
- Publication: The digital age: Implications of automation, digitisation and platforms for work and employment
As regards platform work, Eurofound’s platform economy repository will continue to monitor the evolution of this form of employment and business model. Based on this, specific research will, for example, explore initiatives tackling issues around employment and working conditions.
Eurofound will build on previous research on working anytime and anywhere carried out in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO). This research considered the impact of telework and ICT-based mobile work on various elements of working conditions. It is planned to carry out an update of the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) data analysis in this area in 2021.
Restructuring linked to megatrends in the economy
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) events database captures where restructuring is specifically linked to digitalisation and COVID-19. Similarly, the ERM support instruments and legal database are being expanded to covering restructuring-relevant information related to digitalisation, the transition to a climate-neutral economy and COVID-19.
A specific strand of study will take a sectoral approach, for example in 2021/2022 exploring the work and employment impact of structural change in financial services. This is a sector that has been substantially affected by digitalisation and other megatrends, as well as by the COVID-19 crisis, altering the occupational structure in the sector.
Desirable future scenarios of potential developments driven by digitalisation or the transition to a climate-neutral economy will be explored. This will look at possible pathways and measures to achieve the desired outcomes and avoid disadvantageous ones.
Informing the policy debate
Research on the twin transition related to digitalisation and climate change could provide relevant information for policymakers seeking solutions to make markets work better for consumers, business, workers and society, for the sustainable development of cities and urban areas, and to support regions to improve their infrastructure and access to services.Read less
Key outputs over the years
Publications & dataTop
The sections below provide access to a range of publications, data and ongoing work on this topic.
- Publications (123)
- Ongoing work (5)
Eurofound publications come in a variety of formats, including reports, policy briefs, blogs, articles and presentations.
Measures to tackle labour shortages: Lessons for future policyPublication 28 March 2023
Teleworking numbers double in EU to 41.7 million in 2021 bringing better work-life balance, more autonomy but longer working hours and isolationNews 8 December 2022
The rise in telework: Impact on working conditions and regulationsPublication 8 December 2022
Watch the webinar - #AskTheExpert: Making telework work for everyone – lessons from the pandemic for a digital ageEvent 6 December 2022
European Employment and Social Rights Forum - The social dimension of the green transitionEvent 16 November 2022
Watch the webinar - #EurofoundLIVE: Regulating platform work – The EU’s big balancing actEvent 28 September 2022
Regulating platform work in Europe: A work in progressBlog 27 September 2022
Eurofound Talks - Platform workNews 26 September 2022
Going digital: Restructuring trends in retail bankingPublication 26 September 2022
Access to essential services for people on low incomes: Energy, public transport and digital communicationsPublication 7 September 2022
A selection of related data on this topic are linked below.
- Data: Platform economy repository
- Data: Working during COVID-19
- Data: European Company Survey – Data visualisation (Questions on digitalisation)
- Data: European Working Conditions Survey - Data visualisation
- Infographics: Platform work (PDF), Advanced robotics (PDF), autonomous transport devices (PDF), blockchain (PDF), virtual and augmented reality (PDF), and wearable devices (PDF)
Research continues in this topic on a variety of themes, which are outlined below with links to forthcoming titles.
The future of telework and hybrid workPublication April 2023
Adapting to a new reality: Provision and use of public services in COVID-19 timesPublication August 2023
Rural-urban polarisationPublication October 2023
Ethical workplace digitalisation: From theory to practicePublication November 2023
Impact of new developments in human–machine interaction on work organisation and working conditionsPublication January 2024
Other ongoing work
- In 2021, Eurofound will finalise and publish its 2020 work programme research on the impact of digitisation technologies on work organisation and working conditions and launch its online flagship resource on digitalisation.