Digitalization of Municipalities

Interweave the work environment more with digital issues. And involve the employees when new technology is introduced. This is the main message from a research project on the digitization of municipalities. Also read about what teachers, social workers and home care staff think about the technology.

When you digitize, the way work is organized changes. And then digitization becomes a work environment issue. Still, you don’t make the connection to the work environment, docent in occupational science. She has participated in funded research project on digitization in municipalities. Digital technology is a way to make it more efficient and easier for citizens and employees. And to cope with the challenges of welfare. The researchers have investigated the importance of digitization for interpersonal relationships, organization and work environment. They chose to study different administrations in two municipalities.

The most important lesson is that in workplaces, more than today, you have to talk about and treat digital technology as something that is important for the work environment. It is high time now many still do not consider the working environment when they purchase and use new technology. My experience is also that the companies that develop the systems do not have much contact with different professions and different industries, she says.

The researchers also gained insight into how complex the public sector works compared to the private sector. The demands are made from so many different sides – citizens. You must be a good civil servant who contributes to good community service. That requirement increases through technology when you have to provide the service via website, apps, phone, team meeting and other channels.

In addition, digitization makes it easier for authorities and other bodies to request more information from the municipalities. Because they don’t see all the demands made by citizens and various organizations, they don’t know what workload it contributes to when everything is digitized. Employees may need to use four or five different systems when they have to document different data and report to many different bodies outside the municipality.

Efficiency and citizen benefit are put in focus at the expense of employees’ work environment. Digitization decisions are made high up in the hierarchy without anchoring with the users in the organization. Managers, HR and safety representatives do not cooperate in digitization processes. Businesses do not always anchor digitization processes among employees, nor do they follow up on how digital solutions affect the work environment. Complicated systems for which there is a lack of training can create anxiety and conflict.

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