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Flexibility in digitalized working environments

The use and effects of telecommuting and digital work communication

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Further information

Flexibility in digitalized working environments: The use and effects of telecommuting and digital work communication is part of the DFG-funded project "Digitalisierung der Arbeitswelten".

Project background

Local flexibility is one of the central promises in the current debate about the digitalization of work. The expansion of digital infrastructures increasingly allows location-independent communication with superiors and colleagues as well as location-flexible access to work-related data and information. This results in new opportunities to organize work independently of location and time.

Existing research points to opportunities and risks of digitally enabled flexibility for both employers and employees. On the one hand, digitally mediated flexibility can allow employers increasing access to the workforce. On the other hand, digitally mediated flexibility is also described as a resource for employees to better balance work and private life.

Research question of the project

The project investigates the interplay of digital infrastructures and social institutional structures for the realization of flexibility interests of employers and/or employees. The societal management of these flexibility interests will be examined in terms of the intensity of location- and time-independent access to the workforce, in the form of digital work communication and telecommuting, and associated work-life balance conflicts.

The mediating influence of perceived organizational cultures and (digital) availability expectations therein is also examined: are national influences mediated or mitigated? Furthermore, gender- and occupation-specific inequalities in the design of digitally mediated flexibility and consequences for gender-specific employment patterns and inequality structures are inquired about. Against the background of current developments, the COVID-19 pandemic is also taken into account.

Empirical approach

The data basis is formed by survey data from employed persons from more than 25 countries who participated in the rotation module on "Digital Social Contacts in Work and Family Life" as part of the European Social Survey 2021, which was co-initiated and designed by the project management.

The data will be linked with country-specific information and analyzed using hierarchical regression analyses.


Prof. Dr. Anja Abendroth

Prof. Dr. Anja Abendroth

Project lead

Laura Lükemann

Laura Lükemann

Project staff

Antje Schwarz

Antje Schwarz

Project staff

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