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Zolg, Sabrina; Heiden, Barbara and Herbig, Britta ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6772-5255 (2021): Digitally connected work and its consequences for strain - a systematic review. In: Journal of occupational medicine and toxicology (London, England), Vol. 16, 42 [PDF, 1MB]


BACKGROUND Evolving digitization has an impact not only on the organization of work, but also on the health of employees. Dealing with new technologies, integrating new processes and requirements into work, and restructuring tasks among others are demands that can be stressful and impair health. OBJECTIVES Our aim was to identify (clusters of) working conditions associated with digitally connected work and to analyze their relations with strain, that is, health and well-being outcomes. METHODS Between May and October 2019, a search string was used to systematically search six databases (EMBASE, Medline, PSYNDEX, PsycInfo, SocIndex, WISO) for German and English texts according to the PEO scheme. The methodological quality was assessed using the Quality Assessment Tool for Studies with Diverse Design. RESULTS 14 studies were identified. Despite the search string containing latest technologies, we identified mostly studies from the 1980s/90s. To aggregate findings, a categorization of work factors (cognitive demands, social factors, organizational factors, environmental factors) and health factors (motivation/satisfaction, reduced well-being/affective symptoms, physiological parameters/somatic complaints) is introduced. The most frequently identified work factors belong to the category of cognitive demands. For health factors, motivation/satisfaction was identified most often. 475 associations were found in total. CONCLUSIONS This systematic review provides an overview of work and health factors that have been studied between 1981 and 2019. Recent texts frequently study individualized health factors (e.g., life satisfaction) whereas objective physiological measurement data and objective survey methods such as workplace analysis are not used. This latter approach was predominantly found in the older studies. In order to obtain a comprehensive picture, however, it is worthwhile to use a combination of these subjective and objective approaches for future studies in this field.

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