L’impatto delle nuove tecnologie nella conciliazione tra vita e lavoro

Teresa Coelho Moreira


The work-life balance is a fundamental issue for all the workers and it is linked to many others, such as quality of work, female participation in the labour market, gender equality and active ageing.

Among the new challenges of contemporary society, a key role is played by the introduction in the workplaces of new digital and computer technologies, which may change working-time arrangement and, at the same time, guarantee more flexibility in working-time.

On the one hand, this phenomenon can lead to a better management of working-time; nevertheless, on the other hand, it can determine an increase in working hours, since digital technologies and working-time flexibility are associate with a different evaluation of workers’ performance no more in reference to the working time, but on the basis of the results. It may result in an increase of the working time. Indeed, working hours’ flexibility does not always ascribe more freedom to the workers, but, as it is often the case, it can lead to an increase in working time, which encroach on private and family life.

Technologies offer the possibility to “anytime-anyplace” jobs, but it can not result in a demand of working “always-everywhere”. The working times allowed by new technologies risks to result in new sweating practices: even though digital technologies provide easier way to shape working time patterns, actually it challenges the fundamental right of workers to have a day of rest. The distinction between working and non-working time becomes less and less visible and the border line between personal and professional life is more and more confused.

In order to avoid these criticisms, it was theorized the “right to disconnect”, which is the last frontiers of right to privacy in the 21 st century.

The “ghost of ubiquity” is appearing, since workers are requested to be connected always and everywhere.

At the moment, the tendency is to request a broader participation of workers in the life of the enterprise. It leads to actual difficulties in distinguishing working time and personal and family life.

It is essential an alternation between work connection and disconnection. It is a matter of wisely managing working time patterns and connection/disconnection times. In order to guarantee this aim, social partners through social dialogue can play an important role.

It seems to be a possible way forward to reach a compromise between flexible working hours and the private life of workers.

Another problematic aspect regards the introduction of information and communications technology (ITC) in workplaces.

The potentiality of such new technologies is the basis of a new revolution concerning intelligent production systems and new way of working, called “sharing economy” or “collaborative economy”. Such new economies involve promises of a new great development, but also many challenges which require a protective intervention involving governments, enterprises, workers and individuals.

It is not only a structural change, but also and above all a functional change, in the sense that the way of providing work is profoundly changing. It implies a new labour law conception, not only because of a substantial change of its protective capacity, but also because it involves a profound change of its scope and of the extent of its protection area; it also implies a profound reflexion about labour law rules at national, European and international level. In this sense, we can talk about a new labour law dimension.

Work is a key factor in this transformation and in the digital revolution.

We are used to talk about “work 4.0” and about the heterogeneous phenomenon of the sharing economy. In particular, the latter includes crowdwork, work on digital platform and work on-demand via apps. The great change of work does not involve only industry 4.0. Obviously, it does not exist a homogeneous and monolithic concept relating to this type of work, since methods and ways of working may change on the basis of the service required by the customer and in relation to the complexity and the quality of the work.

If any active policy for women will not be taken, in the future women will miss best career opportunities, risking to get worse the already marker gender inequality.

In the light of that, it is essential to adopt a holistic approach to cope with this situation and to encourage a greater female participation in the labour market, through real integration policy.

Work 4.0 is an opportunity without precedent to reach the same participation of women in the labour market through focusing the attention on the gender equality issue within the digital labour market.

Parole chiave

web; gender discrimination; big data; digital labour market; gender segregation; smart working; work 4.0

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-2695/6857


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