Sustainable work: how to address the challenges of emerging models of digital and hybrid work

In recent years, we have witnessed important changes in the contexts and models of work. One of the key drivers of change is the increased adoption of digital technologies for work and collaboration, that have been supporting the expansion of remote and hybrid models of work. As digital contexts become pervasive in both work and personal contexts, they change the characteristics of workspaces, and there is a growing interest on understanding how they affect the quality of work and the well-being of individuals.
In public debates and policy agendas, this debate is framed under the concept of sustainable work, i.e. the purpose of developing working conditions that contribute to the engagement of individuals with their professional contexts throughout an extended working life. This is a key debate for territories such as Europe where demographic characteristics such as the aging population, and the persistent low rates of participation in job market for some segment of the population, create important concerns about the availability of a skilled workforce in the long term.
For managers and researchers the challenge is to understand what factors may discourage or hinder workers from staying in or entering the workforce, in order to set in place strategies to overcome the fragilities of teams and sustain long-term committed work ecosystems. At the level of each individual, the quest is to match the needs and abilities of the individual with the quality of jobs on offer. There are several dimensions that individuals take into account when evaluating the quality of a job opportunity, for deciding whether to accept or to keep a work position. Job quality includes dimensions referring to the physical environment of work, the work intensity, the working time quality, but also the level of expected earning and prospects for personal
development associated with the job. Whereas for many of the dimensions there is extensive research about how their characteristics affect the perceived quality of a job offer, not so much has been explored for their role in the new work models of remote work and hybrid work. As such we need to develop further research efforts to develop our understanding about how each work quality dimension changes in the contexts of digitally supported work contexts.
The purpose of this stream is to stimulate the research and academic debate about the factors that determine the quality and sustainability of the workforce for the specific contexts of remote and hybrid work supported by digital technologies. Timely questions include:  What are the drivers of quality of work when teams resort to digital technologies for collaboration? How does remote and hybrid models of work affect the expectations about personal development, progression and expected earnings? How can work intensity be effectively managed in digital and hybrid contexts of work?
Topics of interest in this track include:
 Trends in the adoption of digital, remote and hybrid models of work
 Sectoral challenges in the adoption of digital collaboration and hybrid models of work
 Drivers of work quality and job satisfaction in remote and hybrid contexts of work
 Gender differences and specific challenges in remote and hybrid contexts of work
 Innovative experiences in the development of remote and hybrid contexts of work
 Models and instruments to assess the quality of work in remote and hybrid teams
 Key technologies for supporting remote and hybrid teams
 Performance indicators and methods to assess remote and hybrid work

 Social and ethical challenges in managing remote and hybrid work teams


Stream Leader 

Marlene Amorim

Universidade de Aveiro