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Report - The Impact of IT on working conditions

Report - The Impact of IT on working conditions


The Centre d'analyse stratégique and the Ministry of Finance recently published the report:

The impact of IT on working conditions

Combining the techniques used for computers, Internet and telecommunications, IT or information technology and communication, has played a central role in the working world for several decades by transforming the way work is done. Most work areas and offices have adapted to these changes and the number of employees not able to regularly access these resources has fallen.

The power, the vast functions and the ability to integrate these functions together, gives the IT strategic importance far beyond any other tools. Its impact can be so systematic for the organization of a workplace that in many cases, it shapes and structures the workplace.

The relentless innovation that characterizes this area of communication, combined with rapidly changing business needs in the midst of a changing economy, has affected computer tools. They are at the forefront of the changes impacting the professional world.

Its role is critical to the daily work of employees (including those who do not use IT), for the organization of a company, and to make strategic decisions and changes.

This report provides a valuable analysis regardless of an important constraining factor: the predominance of a massive consensus for the use of IT because it is associated with progress, modernity and a major driver of economic growth. It is recognized as such on a national, EU and global level, leaving little space for an approach focused on its effect on users. 

To identify the impact of IT on working conditions, we first need to study the diffusion of technology (Chapter 1), related factors and actors that have influenced it (Chapter 2), examine developments which have altered the ways in which we work, and identify affected employees and the way in which they have handled these changes (Chapter 3).

Three main issues have arised:

  • to what extent and under what conditions does IT participate in intensifying work and put its users under pressure through constraints that IT generates or increases? It is necessary to find a balance between the workload and the need to disconnect and to take a break for the sake of the quality of the work, and between standardization and maintaining margins to create work commitment conditions, and between autonomy and control (Chapter 4);
  • what are the connections and effects between IT and work groups? This issue was studied from two different perspectives. One perspective looks at the relationship between these groups, IT and participation, a sometimes narrow perspective looking at the technologies and their updates (Chapter 5). An exploratory approach was adopted to specifically address this topic. The second perspective looks into the questioning of IT as a factor that isolates. It analyzes the impact on informal exchanges within the company (Chapter 6);
  • what are the consequences for employees when the traditional framework of space and working time changes because of IT? This analysis shows that the limits between work and free time, the individual level, labor organizations and companies are intermingled (Chapter 7).

The impact of IT relating to health concerns has been discussed in these analyses, but major questions concerning this subject remain unanswered, including the indirect impacts of IT(Chapter 8).

Beyond these analyses, it is useful to look at possible developments that the effects from IT on working conditions could be faced with in the coming years. This takes into account the dynamic dimensions these technologies will inevitably continue to have on work (Chapter 9).

  • Work coordinated by:
    Tristan Klein
    , economist, project leader "Prospects of trades and skills" in the Department of Labour-Employment Centre d’analyse stratégique  
    Daniel Ratier
    , special adviser to the Labour Branch

Press Contact:
Jean-Michel Roullé, Head of Communications
Tel. 01 42 75 61 37 -


Centre d’analyse stratégique