Work shapes our society and affects our health. At the same time, our work life is changing very rapidly, driven by multiple interacting factors such as social, economic and organizational systems and behaviours, digitalization, technical development, climate change, and pandemics, as well as unknown factors. It is therefore difficult to foresee how work will manifest itself in the future. Yet, to avoid a work life and work environments that unnecessarily put people at risk for accidents or poor health we need to explore, understand and analyze latent known risks as well as acquire knowledge that prepares us for managing future, and currently unknown, risks and challenges.
In this Advanced Study Group, Work on Mars provides a metaphor for the extreme challenges and rapid societal changes that we expect in future working life on Earth. Indeed, work on Earth presents many difficulties that affect workers’ health and efforts to improve these conditions must look at the present and the future. We will explore and further our knowledge on this complex and challenging topic by drawing on expertise from a variety of disciplines within the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Social Sciences. The overarching goal is to identify major processes that may affect current and future working life experiences. More specifically, we address the following aspect of current and future working life:
Identify drivers that may change working life and the working environment and impose known, or new, health challenges and ethical dilemmas.
Identify the main actors (e.g. in the public and private sectors, lobby organizations, unions) of change as well as their awareness of future health challenges that are associated with the consequences of specific drivers.
Identify individual and collective strategies, tactics, and technical solutions that can be used to manage the consequences of specific drivers.
Identify continuities and changes across generations in advantageous and disadvantageous working life conditions.
Hence, we will examine ongoing changes, trends, and topics by assuming that for humans to develop and have healthy and fulfilling lives, their environment must support their basic needs.