How does IT feel @ work? And how to make IT better Computer use, stress and health in office work

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The introduction of computers in working life has changed the very nature of many jobs and the entire work situation for a great number of people. How has this affected the individual´s health and well being? With the large increase in the use of computers we have witnessed an increase in reports on negative effects on users´health. The puropose of this thesis is to describe a number of studies on health effects of office computerisation conducted over a period of 20 years. The emphasis of the early studies was on psychosocial factors and stress effects while the focus in the more recent studies was to take into account occupational health in software development. The following conclusions have been drawn: We still face severe problems concerning the computer users´health and work environment. Much of the negative health effects are associated with stress. The introduction of new computer systems can result in an increase in various work-related health risks. These risks are related to several interacting factors, with two of the more important factors being work organisation and contents and design ot the computer system. Current methods, models and tools for system development are insufficient to prevent work environment and health problems encountered in administrative case handling work. To counteract these problems more attention needs to be given to social and organisational factors during system development.