This research project examines the role of digitalisation in shaping work practices and experiences among professional workers.
Specifically, it investigates the ways in which digitalisation influences working time, workloads, work locations, relationships with colleagues, managers and clients, identities at work, career progression, and the interplay between work and home life. Of interest is how digitalisation shapes workers’ experiences of inequality and (dis)connectedness, as well as questioning the potential of digitalisation to overcome traditional workplace barriers.
While digitalisation is of interest in its own right, enforced homeworking arising from the Covid-19 pandemic led to an increasing reliance on digital technology for connections to work and colleagues. This provides an interesting context to study how digitalisation is used to organise work, navigate careers and build networks and relationships remotely.
While a distinction is made between working from home under usual circumstances and working at home during lockdown, these conditions enable an understanding of the effects of greater levels of homeworking and flexibility on experiences of connection and disconnection.
The research uses a qualitative longitudinal approach to understand experiences during a period of change, including:
- Interviews with employees from two firms located in legal and IT services, conducted over a period of twelve months.
- Participants completed a questionnaire on their use of technology to organise and conduct their work as well as time diaries to provide reflections on their experiences throughout the working day.
- Case studies of the two organisations were constructed through interviews and using information from company reports.