These are some of the disturbing findings of research conducted by Leuven University at the request of the Christian metal and textile workers’ union.
Researcher Lise Meylemans explains that currently new ‘Industry 4.0’ technologies are being introduced: “It’s the 4th industrial revolution. The last revolution was about automation. This one is about connectivity. Machines are connected digitally, also with their operators via a tablet. We’re talking about Big Data, collecting and connecting all kinds of data digitally.”
The tasks a worker has to fulfil are changing as a result. New smart machines can operate themselves. Workers get extra responsibilities e.g. machine maintenance or sorting software problems.
This may lead to technostress especially among older employees. This can be sorted by sound training.
Lise Meylemans: “When employees receive training, when new technologies are introduced, we notice they evaluate their work experience in a positive fashion.”
Worryingly, the research revealed that twenty percent of workers didn’t get any special training when new technologies were introduced.