The increasing digitalisation of workplaces and wider economy has been accompanied by an increase in work intensification. But does digitalisation cause work intensification? And, if so, how?

This Round 4 Innovation Fund project aims to investigate the relationship between digitalisation and work intensity in the UK and other European countries over time. Work intensification refers to the increase in the pace, quantity, or effort required of workers within a given timeframe.

The project aims to increase understanding of the causal relationships between digitalisation and work intensification.

Research questions

  1. Has digitalisation led to an increase in work intensity over time? If so, are these changes in intensity attributable to technological changes that are specific to individual workplaces or that are much wider and affect the economy and society as a whole?
  2. Is the effect of digitalisation on work intensity similar across different societies or does it vary? If so, can contextual variables account for such differences?
  3. What is the potential of individual-level survey data to illuminate the role of digital technologies in changes in work intensity and job quality more generally?


Analysis of secondary UK-based and European cross-national survey datasets that are publicly available.


Principal Investigator: Dr Albert Varela, University of Leeds

Co-Investigator: Dr Andrew Bell, University of Sheffield

Digit Collaborator: Professor Christopher Forde, University of Leeds

Digit Collaborator: Professor Danat Valizade, University of Leeds