As the pilot activities of SmartWork project kicked-off in Portugal and Denmark, we are talking with Tom Christian Thomsen, a SmartWork coordinator at Center for Assisted Living Technology in Aarhus about the pilot set up, expectations and older workers’ reactions to the SmartWork solution
Please tell us more about the pilot project: who are the participants and what will you test, precisely?
At Center for Assisted Living Technology – CAT we have marketed the Smartwork Pilot by a one-pager invitation send in direct mail to all staff in the target group of office workers at +55 years of age in the Health and Care Division at Aarhus Municipality regardless of function. The One-pager title: “Do you want to help shape the digital workplace of the future?” shortly tells the purpose of the trial, the devices, wearables and software to be applied, research questionnaires applied through the Trial period and most important what it may bring the participants: “An insight into your own “health profile” that can guide you in your work habits and how they influence your physical and mental health – including potential prevention and relief of stress, burnout and pain through the program’s concrete proposals to change inappropriate habits in your daily work”. The offer is voluntary, participation is on a first come, first served basis.
The major focus is on Health matters and hence the HealthyMe and ActivityCoach services. The system options for access to family carers and managers are of little interest and in collision with privacy legislation and labour market agreements, meaning iCare and digiTeam will not be part of the trial.
The major results will come through the questionnaires issued to the participants at the beginning, under and at the end of the Trial, i.e. the individual subjective observations on effects of the system interventions.
So far, the distribution of the offer to participate has resulted in app. 20 replies, more invitations are about to go out since questions raised by the responsible DPO on Privacy and compliance to Legislation halting the recruiting has been overcome.
What are your expectations towards the pilot?
We expect to gain experience on the usability of the Smartwork System, Services and devices, what’s usable, what could be better and how, what’s important and what could be left out. Most important is to measure whether the participants find Smartwork and its services provide value concerning both physical and physiological work environment and thus a higher degree of wellbeing among the participants.
The perspective at CAT and the Health&Care organisation of Aarhus Municipality is that Smartwork functionality and technical setup can be widespread to the citizens receiving Health Care services and hence be a means to increase the quality of the Health&Care service provided by the Municipality. The pilot gives us valuable input also in an organizational context e.g. the legislative requirements, technical organization and competences required, how to present Smartwork services to the potential users.
What’s the people’s reaction, how do they approach the activities?
The interest to participate falls in two groupings, one is very interested and the other not at all, none in between. A dominating question concerns privacy, the general opinion among the participants that the measured “wellbeing data” are very private not to be shared with others and anonymity is “a must”. However, aggregated data across the participants are welcome to be published and entered the Work Environmental policies at the organizational level.
There are no reservations among the interested participants towards the digital approach or methods, the environment is highly digitized. Only the interaction with system interventions takes up more space and time than some participants approve of, it is especially intervention interruptions and time consumption that exceed what some the participants find reasonable.
In the daily operation, the participants often need technical support, the scope is greater than expected and made difficult by the participants’ anonymization, as the project manager, due to Privacy rules, must not know the individual participant’s user identity.