In a workplace dominated by insecurity, gig work and intelligent machines we need to improve our understanding of their potential impact on health, safety and wellbeing claims a new report. Future risk: Impact of work on employee health, safety and wellbeing, commissioned by the British Safety Council from RobertsonCooper researchers argues that the public debate on the future of work has centred so far on the likely shape of the workplace and its implications for both employers and employees. There has been far less focus on what this might mean for workers’ health, safety and wellbeing, with discussions centring on the present, rather than preparing us for the challenges of the future. Yet, the impact of automation on the workplace will be more fundamental than is commonly understood, with 11 million jobs predicted to be lost in the next 20 years in the UK. As we are already seeing with some ‘gig’ working, it may undermine such basic human needs as social identity, economic security and a sense of belonging. The report reviews the existing literature on this subject and makes a number of recommendations.
While providing an overview of the landscape of work, the report explores the changes that employers and employees are likely to experience over the next 20 years. It focuses on the risks of these changes to the health, safety and wellbeing of the workforce.
Professor Cary Cooper CBE, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at the University of Manchester, founder of RobertsonCooper, said: “We know that work is changing, which is why there is currently so much conversation about the future of work. However, we know less about the risks this might bring to the health, wellbeing and safety of employees, so it’s a challenge for businesses to prepare for this.”
The main themes explored by the report are:
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