We can prevent and manage risks related to the increasing digitalisation of the workplace. Here’s how:
- Adopt a human-centred and human-in-command approach.
- Guarantee equal access to information by employers, managers, workers and their representatives.
- Consult workers and their representatives and get them to participate in the decisions taken regarding the development, implementation and use of digital technologies and systems.
- Maintain transparency about how digital tools operate, and about their main benefits and drawbacks.
- Foster a holistic approach in evaluating digital technologies and their effects on workers and society as a whole.
An inclusive human-in-command approach is key to digital transformation. AI and digital technologies should support (but not replace) human control and decisions, or the consultation and participation of workers. The design, development and use of human-in-command digital systems allow them to support workers, while leaving humans in control. This ensures that traits like compassion, empathy and concern for workers will not be replaced by computer decisionmaking.
Safety and health issues must also be considered at the design stage by involving programmers and developers from the start. Equally important is enhancing digital literacy among workers and employers by promoting qualification and skills development for digital applications. This allows them to better understand the digital systems, as well as the risks and opportunities caused by them.