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The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the digital transformation of work

Lisa Nagel (University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 5 October 2020

Issue publication date: 2 December 2020




This study investigates whether the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an acceleration of the digital transformation in the workplace.


This study is based on a survey conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic from March to April 2020 on the crowdsourcing platform Amazon Mechanical Turk.


The findings show an increase of people working from home offices and that many people believe that digital transformation of work has accelerated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. People who noted this acceleration can imagine working digitally exclusively in the future. Moreover, the importance of traditional jobs as a secure source of income has decreased, and digital forms of work as a secure source of income have increased because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers believe that digital work will play a more important role as a secure source of income in the future than traditional jobs.

Research limitations/implications

Because the survey was conducted online, respondents may have had a certain affinity for digital work.


This study assesses the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the future of work, showing that changes in the perception of digital transformation and the willingness to work exclusively in a digital manner have arisen as result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To estimate the long-term consequences of the pandemic on the digitisation of work, research that includes macroeconomic consequences in its forecast is necessary.



The author would like to thank Mona Schwörer for her comments and Lars Hornuf. The author acknowledges the Amazon Mechanical Turk workers who completed the surveys. The author also thanks the editors of the journal as well as the reviewers, who have given up valuable time during the COVID-19 crisis.This article evolved as part of the research project “Crowdsourcing as a new form of organizing labor relations: regulatory requirements and welfare effects” and was financially supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) under grant HO 5296/3-1.


Nagel, L. (2020), "The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the digital transformation of work", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 40 No. 9/10, pp. 861-875.



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