Physical and Digital Work Environment
People often talk about organizational and social work environment in connection with mental well-being, but also physical and digital work environment affects our health.
This is physical and digital work environment
By Jeanette Köster, about 3 minutes reading
Physical work environment factors are about the work tools and the physical environment we live in. Common influencing factors are, for example, working position, furniture, computers, monitor design, room design, temperature, ventilation, lighting and noise. Being able to switch between sitting, standing and walking is part of the work environment. Digital work environment are conditions that are the result of the work’s support system and tools being digitized.
How are we affected in working life?
An important work environment factor that could be related to health is sitting still at the computer in one-sided working positions for much of the day. Others are the properties of digital systems, affecting human beings’ ability to use their abilities, knowledge and experience to perform their tasks, ie it create cognitive loads. Lacking sufficient opportunity to have control and influence over system use are work environment factors that can contribute to IT-related stress, as well as experiencing an information overload, technology problems or implementation problems. There are researchers who believe that there is reason to believe that today’s digitalised working life leads to changed requirements that contribute to the increase in mental illness.
Digital overflow of information
A feeling of not having the necessary ability to receive, understand and handle all the information, provides an experience of stress. If the information also has pedagogical shortcomings and we do not really understand what is being said, or how it is being said, the mental strain increases. Not perceiving communication as comprehensible reduces the sense of context, increasing the risk of harmful stress.
Work environment problems arise when the properties of the digital support are not adapted to one’s own ability or to the requirements set by the work. A common problem is that the tasks are more or less controlled by the digital systems. The feeling of being controlled in a way that is considered negative for the work is an important work environment problem and can lead to inefficient work, safety risks and stress. For a user, it is often very important to be able to adapt what you do, but also how and when, to the current work situation and to the real conditions.
Stress factors more directly linked to the technology itself are e.g. unplanned interruptions or extended response times. Such events have been shown to very quickly lead to increased heart rate and production of stress hormones.
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