University of Minho & Work 4.0 Consortium

Stakeholder Viewpoint – Third

The technical developments are radically changing not only the prospects of which work will remain to be carried out by people, but also the working conditions that will apply for them. This means by whom, where, when and how the work will be carried out. This flexibilization in working conditions is very beneficial for Work 4.0. Nevertheless, we need to bear in mind that the positive role of the innovation driven by technology will not arise automatically. The amount of flexibilization of working conditions needs to be balanced by the same amount of security for the workers.

Flexibility in working conditions includes the agreement between the worker and the employer about the adaptation to the market demands with respect to who will do the work (the function), when (the time), where (place) and how (approach) the work will be performed. The working conditions thus become individualized, bringing the opportunity for collective intelligence where workers are empowered to collaborate in the execution of sophisticated tasks; it also can materialize into powerlessness and isolation.