A workshop was held to shed light from different perspectives on the main ways the digital transformation is impacting the world of work. A very varied group of experts from research, trade associations and trade unions, employees and self-employed persons, as well as members of works councils came together to identify what society needs in terms of skills, the organisation of work, working relationships and possibly also legal regulations. The event focused on the topics of working hours, flexibility in terms of when and where work is done, mental health and worker participation. Using the Design Thinking methodology, it was possible to collect and categorise ideas about the complex factors necessary for digital transformation to be a success.
Experts provide insights
The event had two items on the agenda - getting input from experts on the main topics and doing group work, which was to be followed by discussions.
The input for the Design Thinking phase came from the following presentations: Labour law specialist Professor Daniel Ulber (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg) explained that the loss of traditional framework parameters such as where and when work is done may require adjustments in labour legislation. In her presentation, specialist for labour matters Shirley Ogolla (HIIG) focused on the relationship between worker participation in enterprises and new platforms for participation. Dr. Wenke Apt (iit Berlin) presented an overview of the current state of research on the use of assistance systems in organising work, focussing on the legal and psychological implications. Janett Kampf (IG Metall) then discussed how worker participation within companies can benefit from digital transformation and how it can be organised. Silke Steltmann (BAVC) presented the idea that the central challenge for organising work in companies is reconciling the needs of workers for flexibility in terms of when and where they do their jobs with the needs of the production process, while at the same time dealing with sector-specific shortages of skilled workers. At the end of the first workshop phase, Norman Niess (arvato) described the positive and negative effects of AI on call-centre employees’ daily work, which has been transformed as a result of digital technology.
With design-thinking to new solutions
After this input, small groups used the Design Thinking approach to develop possible solutions for the problem areas that had been identified. The results of this workshop will be incorporated into the interim report planned for March 2019 on the dialogue on “new work, new security". There will then be a follow-up process to explore the results in greater depth.
The "Changes to the organisation of work" workshop for experts forms part of a dialogue on the future entitled "new work, new security". The purpose of the dialogue is to discuss the key challenges for the organisation of work in the future and to identify possible statutory and administrative measures to make the transformation a success. This process is intended to provide analysis, orientation and policy options in key areas.
The first phase of the dialogue will focus on discussions with the general public. In this phase, conferences and workshops will also be carried out with specialists. This phase will conclude with an interim report. On the basis of support provided by the academic community, the report will summarise the concerns expressed in the dialogue with the general public as well as the results of the events for specialists. It will also define concrete fields of action for the second phase of the dialogue.