Skip to main content

New technologies pose health and wellbeing risk

Published on: 4 Apr 2024

Emerging technologies are undermining employee wellbeing, according to new research.

New technologies pose health

An Institute for the Future of Work survey of nearly 5,000 people found that employees suffer from worse health and wellbeing the more they are exposed to emerging technologies at work. These include software based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, surveillance devices and robotics.

Established technologies such as laptops, tablets and instant messaging tended to have a more positive effect.

The study, What impact does exposure to workplace technologies have on workers’ quality of life?, will inform the Institute’s Pissarides Review into the Future of Work and Wellbeing. It links use of emerging technologies to stress, job insecurity, poorer health, lower job satisfaction, feelings of disempowerment and task-related anxiety.

Fewer than 25% of respondents frequently used such technologies, with 20.2% using wearables, 20.8% AI software and 23.7% robotics. 

The report notes that research and public policy tend to treat technology and wellbeing separately, and focus on job loss and employment rather than “how workplace technologies are impacting job quality and workers’ quality of life”.

Use of emerging technologies must be “understood properly, and then monitored on an ongoing basis,” it continues.

The study coincides with software specialist Orgvue’s survey of 1,000 senior international decision-makers, which found that 82% have invested in AI – but 50% are unclear on how it will impact their workforce and 48% are unsure how they will manage developments to optimise its use. A total of 93% said preparing employees for AI is “challenging”.