Workplace
Technology
New ways of working
New problems
Craig A. Jackson
Prof. of Occupational Health Psychology
Head of Psychology
Birmingham City University
Work Life Balance?
Is this a reality?
More of us working from home than ever
More of us working on-the-road than ever
Definitions
Home-based working
Employee is based at home, and has no designated office / workspace but
may use “touch-down” centres and attend meetings with other team
members in offices.
Mobile-based working
Employee has no designated office, and uses “touch-down” centres and ad
hoc home working although not based at home.
Field working
Employees perform tasks while out of the office by using hand-held
technology. Field working can be undertaken by employees with a
designated office base, and those based at home.
Expansion from older workplaces
Factories
Offices
Shops
Transport
Expansion from older workplaces
Factories
Offices
Shops
Transport
Expansion from older workplaces
Factories
Offices
Shops
Transport
Expansion from older workplaces
Factories
Offices
Shops
Transport
Gadgetaria
Move from Pornography as biggest bandwidth traffic
to Social Networking
Cultural Significance
“Podification”
“cyber”
Hooverization – “podcast” is generic term for “download”
Hamburger status
Gadget Porn
“Stuff “
“It’s such a waste of working time . . . .”
No peace from it
Luke Williams
I think they do spoil relationships & cause alot of arguments. My g/f has
facebook (i do 2) and she seems 2 add more bois thn gals n the otha day i
was lookin at hers n thers a new boi on ther n it sez thy hooked up n she
sed she dnt kno who it is, i dnt kno wot 2 think? We also argue bare bout
it...so i think it does cause problems.
Overdone & Overused
Cool versus Functionality paradox
iPhone & Blackberry - converge
Dilution of user-base
Product loses identity
Users look elsewhere
Areas of Interest
Established
Teleworking
Remote working
Flexible working
Home working
Emerging
Pervasive computing (GPS, RFID)
Potential
Virtual worlds (Second Life)
Remote / Isolated Working
‘any situation or location in which someone works without a colleague
nearby; or when someone is working out of sight or earshot of another
colleague’
Field operatives Sales Drivers
Lack of assistance available to the worker:
illness
accidents personal safety
Social workers
District nurses
Filling stations
Home workers
Receptionists
Cleaners
Janitors
Drivers
Shops
Security
Teachers
Engineers
Expansion
Telework rates in Japan
Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport
Benefits of Telework
Organisational
Cost savings (e.g. office costs down £6k/person/yr)
Productivity increases of 10% to 40%
Sickness absence reduction of circa 20%
Wider employment pool
Lower turnover & more flexibility
Individual
More flexibility – work / home life balance
Reduced travel time & cost
7% report being happier
Societal
60% of businesses start @ home – economic regeneration
Less travel – lower carbon footprint
Selection criteria for Telework
Information gathering / processing roles
rather than manual work
A limited requirement to be in a designated place
Minimal need for supervision
Work that’s measured by defined objectives, milestones and outputs
Work that needs high levels of concentration
Work that doesn’t need any large business equipment
Safety Issues for Telework
Communication
Risk assessment
Equipment provision & maintenance
Work organisation
Information
Training
Incident reporting
HSL Research Report 262/2004
Health Issues for Telework
Ability to summon help if incapacitated
Potential to work excessive or unconventional hours
Weakening of boundaries between work & leisure
Psychological impact of social isolation
Fewer checks on unhealthy lifestyle activity
Adverse effects on domestic relationships
Telework & HSE Management Standards
Demands
No commuting but home distraction
Control
Higher level of discretion
Support
Risk of isolation
Relationships Less conflict but harder to resolve
Role
Usually well defined / less clarification
Change
May feel “out of the loop”
Case study #1
Two Virgin Cable engineers working in Ladywood, Birmingham.
In a tent on a high street , repairing wiring in a junction box.
Two local men approach, threaten them, ask them to leave.
Men accuse workers of being undercover police.
One of the men shows handgun in
belt of his trousers.
Virgin staff leave the area.
Violence Risks
Alcohol and drug use, by clients and members of the public with
whom the lone worker comes into contact:
people aggressive and their behaviour unpredictable.
Geographical locations:
certain areas of towns or cities known to have a higher risk of violence.
Un-Social Hours working:
working during these times carried an increased risk of violence as (i)
generally fewer people around, (ii) greater number of ‘unsavoury
characters’, (iii) people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Nature of the job:
some lone workers hold power / authority over customers / clients which
can cause resentment and aggression.
Violence Risks
Clients or customer behaviour:
for a number of reasons, clients / customers / public can be highly
emotional, unpredictable or aggressive.
Other people or situations encountered whilst doing job:
include members of the public, young people, even animals and livestock.
Travelling
Visiting homes
Carrying money or equipment
Consequences of Violence
Stress, anxiety, fear and depression:
sometimes resulting from having to deal with persistent verbal abuse.
Stress-related health problems:
often leading to long-term sick leave.
Psychological problems:
exacerbated sometimes when employees may sometimes feel partly to
blame for violent incidents, or feel they have failed in some way.
Low morale and loss of confidence:
in turn affecting an employees’ ability to do their job.
Physical harm, trauma and injury, leading to sick leave.
Case study #2
BT engineer attends elderly customer’s house to fix phone line
No fault found with phone line
Problem is the owner’s 1970’s telephone
Engineer says new phone required and that the line works fine
Customer refuses to let BT engineer leave
Brandishes service revolver (Mark VI Webley)
Held siege for two hours
Training & Information
Most predominant measure used
Training
Some sort of personal safety / violence prevention training was
provided by all organisations; internal, external, formal, informal
The key training messages conveyed were:
• Do not go into a situation if you feel at risk
• Use conflict resolution or defusing techniques
• Be aware of surroundings
• If you feel threatened, make your excuses and leave
• Keep exit options open
Effective Organisation of Telework
Establish a schedule of contact channels
Regular contact with manager (min. weekly) with face to face meetings (e.g. monthly)
Attendance at team meetings (e.g. monthly)
Use the telephone and not just e-mail
Maintain work social circle (instant messaging, work networking sites, etc)
Agree work packages and performance milestones
Budget time to avoid extreme fluctuations in workload
Make maximum use of workplace visits
Ensure specific information is provided and used
GPS Technology and Vehicles
Benefits
Efficiency in resource utilisation
Duty of care for lone workers
EMF Hazard
Levels below ICNRP Public
“Radiosensitivity”
Psychological Issues
Loss of autonomy & control
“Spy in the cab”
Super Snooper
Sick Building Syndrome – A once popular theory
Air quality
Chemical pollutants
Air con
Ventilation
Dust
Tobacco
Space
Crowding
Isolation
Equipment
Printers
PC’s
Noise
Equipment
Telephones
Others
Lighting
Artificial
Glare
Control
Job content
vdu’s
Monotony
Overload
Organisation
Control, communication, feedback
Is STRESS the common link with SBS?
Computer Keyboards
Tendonitis
Repetitive Strain Injury
Low Back Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Cumulative Trauma Disorders
Chronic Fatigue
Fibromyalgia
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Kerching!!!!
Vocal Hygiene
Golden Age of Communication
Most jobs have increased vocal use
Vocal load “unaware”
Equipment modifications required
Exacerbated by stress, alcohol, exposure
“Revenge Effect”
Campbell & Jackson 2006
Cyber Stalking
Personal details
Maps
Accessible data
Pictures
“Googling” people
Obesity & Techno-Decline
CCTV for snoopers
CCTV
Erosion of civil liberties
Reduced privacy
Nothing to hide . . . Nothing to fear
Feel safer?
Reliability - - Ian Tomlinson / Dianna / De Menezes
Korhonen et al., 2003.
Offending Behaviour
Fraud
Violent pornography
Fantasy sharing
Paedophilia
Virus
Hacking
Snooping
Further Reading
Campbell C, Jackson CA. Occupational Voice Disorders. Croner Health and Safety at Work Special Report 2006; 107: 4-8.
Coupland D. Microserfs. Flamingo, New York 1996.
Coupland D. J-pod. Bloomsbury, New York 2007.
Crawford J, MacCalman L, Jackson CA. In Depth Review: The Health and Wellbeing of Remote and Mobile Workers. Occup Medicine, 2011; 61: 385394.
Feynman RP What do you care what other people think?. Harper Collins, London 1993.
Grossman, L. 2007. I take the iPhone Home. Time.
Jackson CA, Crawford JO. Isolated and Remote Working. Management of Health Risks Special Report, 2006; 112:
Jackson CA and Cox T. Health and well-being of working age people. ESRC Seminar Series. ESRC. London. 2006
Jackson CA. Psychosocial Aspects of the Workplace. In Aw, T.C et al. (eds) Occupational Health Pocket Consultant (fifth edition). Oxford: Blackwell
Scientific Publishing; 2006. 191-201
Jackson CA. Psychosocial Hazards. In Smedley, J et al. (eds) Oxford Handbook of Occupational Health. Oxford. Oxford University Press; 2007. 167-179
Korhonen T, Ketola R, Toivonen R, Luukkonen R, Hakkanen M, Viikari-Juntura E. Work related and individual predictors for incident neck pain among
office employees working with video display units. Occ Env Med, 2003; 60: 475-482.
Lewin R. Complexity. Phoenix, London 1997.
Olson, P., Laurent, L. 2007. iPhones Land in London. Forbes.com. (accessed November 9, 2008).
Spuford F, Uglow J. Cultural Babbage: Technology, Time and Invention. Faber and Faber, London 1997.
Tenner E. Why things bite back. Fourth Estate, London 1996.