The “always-connected” age of modern technology: The impact of new ways of working on employee well-being unraveled

The “always-connected” character of communication technology use causes job designs and their associated health risks to change. Recently, New Ways of Working (NWW) has been proposed as a new job design whereby employees have control over when en where they work, enabled by electronic communication. Studies on NWW components and their consequences revealed opposing findings, demonstrating that NWW offers advantages (e.g., work-life balance) and new challenges (e.g., work intensification). This project acknowledges these contrasting findings and aims to study the eventual effects of NWW on employee well-being (i.e., psychological, psychosomatic, and social well-being).

Surprisingly, no studies have yet examined the effects of NWW on employee well-being. On the basis of the Job Demands –Resources (JD-R) model, it is expected that both the advantages (job resources) and the new challenges (job demands) associated with NWW influence employee well-being. The New Ways of Working model is introduced as a framework to study the relationship between NWW and employee well-being, disclosing the underlying mechanisms and the conditions that facilitate this relationship. The project concludes with tailoring and testing the organizational intervention PTO (predictability, teaming, and open communication) to enhance employee well-being, making it the first project to study and deal with the stressors of NWW.

This research project focuses on the underexplored NWW-employee well-being relationship and offers insights to harness the potential of NWW for employee well-being. Three subprojects systematically investigate the claims proposed in the NWW model: A longitudinal field study (Subproject 1) focuses on the long-term influence of NWW on employee well-being, while diary studies examine short-term effects (Subproject 2). The results of Subproject 1 and 2 will be used as a foundation for the further development and implementation of the PTO intervention study aimed at enhancing the advantages and attenuating the challenges of NWW that affect employee well-being (Subproject 3).