Study «Flexible new world of work»
Flexible neue Arbeitswelt. Eine Bestandsaufnahme auf gesellschaftlicher und volkswirtschaftlicher Ebene.
What’s it all about?
The world of work is going through a time of profound upheaval – around the globe, as well as in Switzerland. Constantly developing communications and information technologies, ever more efficient transport systems, increasingly flexible organisation of work, and the social development of the «multi-option society» are leading to traditional office working being supplemented by other forms such as the home office or mobile office. Against this background, the study examines the relative importance of paid and unpaid work, the characteristics of new forms of working, including the legal regulations covering them and the impact of mobile-flexible forms of working on the national economy. The overall aim is to present the potential risks and opportunities of these current developments using a detailed analysis. An overall assessment with recommendations based on the analysis should emerge, so that decision makers have a scientifically based documentation on the subject of the flexible new world of work available to them.
Opportunities and risks – initial assessments
On the one hand, more flexible forms of working can help to integrate people into working life who otherwise find access to work more difficult – for instance because of geographical situation (residence in marginal regions/countries), or for reasons of time (e.g. difficulties of reconciling family preoccupations with gainful employment). More flexible forms of working could also help to ease bottlenecks in the infrastructure, for instance if employed people no longer had to commute to work all at the same time. These advantages are offset by risks, such as increased stress (because of the «colonisation» of leisure time by work, in that everyone has to be contactable all the time) and because of an emerging precariat of «click workers».
Why conduct a TA-SWISS study on this subject?
The «world of work» is a subject which concerns a large number of people, and is therefore highly relevant to society. Politicians have also taken up the issue: thus on 17 April 2013 Jürgen Gross of the Green Liberal party submitted a postulate for the «creation of incentives to promote home office and teleworking in the federal administration». In May 2013 the Federal Council proposed acceptance of the postulate.
Aims of the study
A system of dimensions for mobile-flexible working is set up, with the new forms of working located on these dimensions. The present and future development of the value placed on work, and also the advantages and disadvantages of the new forms of working for employees are demonstrated. The legally relevant framework conditions for mobile-flexible forms of working are recorded at national and international level, loopholes in labour law are highlighted. Also under the spotlight is the question whether, and to what extent, more flexible forms of working favour non-transparent financial flows.
Building on an analysis of the literature and extensive data analyses, characteristic forms of mobile-flexible working will be determined and discussed with experts at a workshop. In a second work package, the legal dimension of mobile-flexible working will be highlighted; the areas of tension between the new forms of work and the legal bases will be verified at a second workshop. The consequences of more flexible forms of working for the national economy will be determined by analysing statistical data. Finally, the potentials and realisation rates of mobile-flexible forms of working will be concretised in three scenarios.
Results and downloads
TA 64/2015 (Book)
Flexible neue Arbeitswelt. Eine Bestandsaufnahme auf gesellschaftlicher und volkswirtschaftlicher Ebene. TA-SWISS Studie, Jens O. Meissner, Johann Weichbrodt, Bettina Hübscher, Sheron Baumann, Ute Klotz, Ulrich Pekruhl, Leila Gisin, Alexandra Gisler (eds.), vdf Hochschulverlag AG, 338 Seiten, CHF 48.00 / EUR 46.00 (D)
ISBN: 978-3-7281-3770-8 (Buch) / Download open access: TA 64/2016 (d)
Abridged version of the TA-SWISS study:
Solo self-employment, worker entrepreneurship, crowdworking and co. Flexible working and its consequences.
TA 64A/2016 e
- Centre for Technology Assessment TA-SWISS
TA-SWISS Project Supervisors
- Dr. Lucienne Rey, TA-SWISS (E-Mail)
- Prof. Dr. Jens O. Meissner, Hochschule Luzern
- Dr. Johann Weichbrodt, Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz
In collaboration with:
- Bettina Hübscher, Hochschule Luzern
- Sheron Baumann, Hochschule Luzern
- Patrik Senn, Hochschule Luzern
- Prof. Dr. Hartmut Schulze, Fachhochschule Nordewestschweiz
- Prof. Ursula Sury, Hochschule Luzern
- Prof. Ute Klotz, Hochschule Luzern
- Prof. Dr. Ulrich Pekruhl, Fachhochschule Nordwestwschweiz
- Prof. Katharina Prelicz-Huber, President Vpod, TA-SWISS Steering Commitee (Chair of the supervisory group)
- Prof. Dr. Thomas Beschorner, University of St. Gallen
- Heidi Blattmann, Science Journalist, TA-SWISS Steering Commitee
- Prof. Dr. Gundela Grote, ETH Zurich
- Dr. Christian Monn, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
- Christine Villaret-D'Anna, Ergonomist, Viganello
- Alain Vuille, Federal Statistical Office
- Prof. Dr. Katja Rost, University of Zurich
- Dr. Stefan Vannoni, economiesuisse, TA-SWISS Steering Commitee
- Dr. Christoph Zanker, Fraunhofer Institut for Systems an Innovation Research ISI
CH-3011 Bern T + 41 31 310 99 60
F + 41 31 310 99 61
The project in brief
The study focuses firstly on the ever-widening gulf between the existing system to protect employees and the increasing flexibilisation of employment relationships. Secondly, it investigates the consequences for the national economy of financial flows that are becoming non-transparent between employers and employees.
The study should demonstrate which framework conditions and prerequisites must be met to enable as many people as possible to benefit from the advantages of more flexible forms of working in their personal lifestyles, without losing social security benefits as a result. The study also clarifies which monitoring and control systems are necessary to ensure that the existing social security and state funding systems are not undermined by the more flexible forms of working and remuneration.
Project: August 2014 - June 2016
Products: Report and report summary
Project management: Prof. Dr. Jens O. Meissner, Hochschule Luzern│ Dr. Johann Weichbrodt, Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz