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Digital transformation: The role of computer use in employee health

Katharina Dengler, Karolin Hiesinger and Anita Tisch
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Katharina Grienberger

Economics & Human Biology, 2022, vol. 46, issue C

Abstract: This paper studies employee health in the context of digital transformation in Germany. While most studies have focused on mental health, we focus on physical health. Using pooled survey data, we estimate how an increased use of computers in the workplace relates to subjective health and work-related health complaints. We find that employees using the computer frequently report better subjective health and a significantly lower prevalence of back pain and physical exhaustion. After controlling for physical work exposures, the health-promoting effect of computer use is much smaller, suggesting that high computer use is associated with a less physically demanding work environment, which in turn relates to better (physical) health outcomes. While digital transformation seems to foster physical health, there are hints that mental health could deteriorate. Thus, the focus of occupational health is shifting towards the prevention of mental stress.

Keywords: Digital transformation; Computer use; Health; Work-related complaints; Employees; Work exposures (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C21 C26 I10 J24 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2022.101137

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