TRS.20.021 – Adapt@work: Adapting tothe new work environment

Route: Towards resilient societies

Cluster question: 107 How can we anticipate the impact of new technologies on humans and society, and understand and evaluate the influence of existing technologies?

After being hit hard by the 2008 economic crisis, the Dutch economy and its organisations did so well that in 2019 unemployment rates reached their lowest point in almost two decades. After a period of layoffs a tight labor market presented itself, meaning that organizations faced difficulties finding suitable personnel. Despite the current COVID epidemic, these challenges remain for those sectors that faced the most strenuous shortages in personnel. Both qualified technicians and healthcare workers remain in high demand, and COVID seemingly only exacerbating the demand for them.

At the same time organisations are confronted with technologies developing at a faster pace than before, making work and work environments more complex. Even though these technologies bring incredible opportunities, embracing them also means the workforce has to adapt to these new developments. This emphasizes the apparent need for worker flexibility, because without it innovation will be slowed substantially.

It is therefore that we propose to study not only the employability and mobility of employees, but also their interactions with technology. Because by properly aligning new technology with the workforce, workers will not only become more effective in their jobs, they might well become more adaptable as well. We propose to study these challenges on the workforce level (how do we increase the mobility of employees in society?), as within organisations (how do employers retain their employees and help them remain effective for the organisation?), as well as on the employee level (how can employee-technology interaction be understood and improved).

To be able to answer these questions, our team will address current and challenging topics such as the increasing skill-gap, the apparent need for self-regulating skills such as job-crafting and self-leadership, as well as looming inequalities in the workforce.


AI, employability, Employment, Mobility, resilience, Sustainable Workforce, work

Other organisations

UU Future of Work Hub


Organisation Universiteit Utrecht (UU)
Name Prof. dr. ir. Tanja van der Lippe