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HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Working World in Transition

Employees want more flexible working models

Computers and robots can make work easier, but also create new problems. A study by the Hans Böckler Foundation shows that there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to reconciling work and family life.

23 Jun. 2018
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Employees want more flexible working models (Photo: Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut (WSI) der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung)

The trade union-related foundation surveyed about 2,000 works council members in conducting the study . Although they acknowledged that employees stand to benefit from robots performing dangerous or strenuous work, they also noted that new technologies are having a major impact on the conditions and organization of work, and not only to the advantage of employees. Although one fifth of the surveyed companies used robots, only in 6% of cases did they completely replace human labor, while in the remaining cases they are perceived as assisting workers. Overall, the preliminary result tends to be positive for jobs: while 16% of the companies showed a technologically-induced reduction of personnel, 36% registered a growth in jobs. Depending on the industry, there are sometimes big differences in this regard however.

According to another study, the reconciliation of work and family leaves much to be desired. Among other things, digital visions of the future promise that employees will have more influence on time schedules thanks to mobile work. The survey nevertheless shows that home-office work is only an option in 13% of companies. Only 15% of works councils find that digitization has improved the reconciliation of private life and work.

In 2017, the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) published its own brochure with many practical examples on how people will work in the future. The brochure states that the works council is an important partner in shaping the working world of tomorrow. Cooperating on a level playing field will apparently facilitate the balancing of interests even if a win-win situation cannot be achieved right from the start.

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