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

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Abstract

Purpose

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

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

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. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-07-2020-0323

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited


1. Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise in early 2020, and the economy has continued to face a substantial downturn, which has implications for working situations (Adams-Prassl et al., 2020; Béland et al., 2020; Bick and Blandin, 2020; Coibion et al., 2020). The world has faced several global economic crises in recent decades, but the current crisis has affected the introduction of digital technologies in all areas of human activity more profoundly than any before (Shkalenko and Fadeeva, 2020). Voluntary precautions against COVID-19, as well as mandatory government restrictions, have forced companies to increasingly offer employees the option of working at home, and thus a large number of people exclusively working from home have integrated existing technologies into their daily work routines (Béland et al., 2020; Spurk and Straub, 2020; Stürz et al., 2020).

Although no one can foresee how the rapid change to digital work will affect the work situation and spread of digital work forms in the future, the use of digital technologies has clearly increased, at least temporarily, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the question arises: Has the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation?

2. Theory: the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital transformation of work

For several years now, the political, economic and societal realms have been involved in the process of digital transformation. In 2017, the European Commission noted that the debate on the impact of digital transformation on the economy and society has become considerably more important in recent years. The term digital transformation of labour describes the digitisation of work previously carried out by individuals in the enterprise (Eberhard et al., 2017). This leads to digital work, which includes the use of new technologies and the possibility of working remotely from the employer. Thereby individuals can perform their work in a variety of locations using new professional skill (Wilks and Billsberry, 2007; Sullivan, 2003). Digital transformation is considered to help turn the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity. To ensure an effective response to the COVID-19 crisis, the European Commission estimates that, in 2020–2021, at least €1.5 trillion must be invested in green and digital transformation (European Union, 2020). Thus, digital transformation is one of the key sectors of Europe's future. Many elements of technological change are created at the workplace, which leads to a general social acceleration (Rosa, 2014).

Organisations expect digital transformation to increase productivity and efficiency, which should give them a competitive advantage over other market respondents (Vial, 2019). To achieve this goal, organisations are encouraging their employees to work in new ways, using technology while taking on more autonomy. Digital transformation leads to a work transformation, which involves a reorganisation of work and ultimately changes the way people work (Anderson-Connolly et al., 2002). In this context, the acceptance of new technology as part of the daily routine is essential (Momani and Jamous, 2017). Technology acceptance is considered one of the main success factors of new technologies (e.g. Molino et al., 2020; Scherer et al., 2019; Taherdoost, 2018; Venkatesh et al., 2003). Acceptance and implementation of new behaviour due to new technologies can take a long time under normal circumstances (e.g. Baturay et al., 2017; Gelbrich and Sattler, 2014). Many organisations have had to adapt to make technologies part of their everyday work routines. However, COVID-19 caused this adaptation to be implemented faster than under normal circumstances. It is conceivable that people who would not otherwise have been so quick to integrate technologies in new ways (e.g. technology in the home office) into their daily work routine were forced to adapt more rapidly. Firms often respond to crises by making short-term adjustments and organisational changes, using these strategies to actively deal with environmental changes in the most effective possible way. This change in organisations often occurs when financial matters are central to the survival and competitiveness of the organisation (Menéndez and Castro, 2002). Therefore, firms and workers will aim to be more flexible to deal with a possible shock in the future (Brakman et al., 2020). In the current situation, this flexibility could extend to digital forms of work.

Because personal contact with other individuals correlates with the probability of contracting COVID-19, a regular working day is no longer possible for many employees (Béland et al., 2020). Voluntary precautions against COVID-19, as well as mandatory government restrictions, have forced companies to increase offers to work at home, which has increased remote work substantially (Béland et al., 2020; Spurk and Straub, 2020; Stürz et al., 2020). This increase has made clear that a large part of working from home requires integrating existing technologies into daily work routines. In turn, the lockdown has created greater awareness that working from a distance, using the existing technologies, is possible even for jobs traditionally carried out in the office (Brakman et al., 2020).

Many employees who work from home offices are currently organising their working hours more flexibly, which can be viewed as adapting to the new situation. As a result, Von Gaudecker et al. (2020) have observed a general decline in total working hours. In addition, employees and superiors are not present in the home office, which could lead to greater autonomy – an important predictor for job satisfaction (Finn, 2001; Fried and Ferris, 1987; Hackman and Oldham, 1975; Naqvi et al., 2013).

Because people working remotely have less contact with other people than professionals who work at their actual place of work, such as nurses or supermarket employees, and personal contact with other individuals correlates with the probability of contracting COVID-19, remote workers should be at lower risk of infection. This decreased risk could lead to an impression of being looked out for and valued and increase feelings of security, thus leading to greater job satisfaction (Danish and Usman, 2010; Tessema et al., 2013). It seems that companies and people may have adapted to the new work situation more rapidly than they would have if the pandemic had not occurred. The question arises: Has the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation?

3. Hypotheses and research questions

Given the current COVID-19 crisis situation, employers and employees will likely try to create more leeway and react flexibly to new challenges (Brakman et al., 2020). Both companies and individuals must realise that digital transformation is possible given the feasibility of the rapid transition to digital work. But digital transformation requires workers with a digital skill set. Employees who are already familiar with digital technologies will find it easier to use them effectively. (Kohnke, 2017). People who have already had experience with home office may find it easier to work in the home office over a longer period of time. In times of COVID-19, this could lead to people with experience in digital work being more likely to switch to home office work than others. A rise in the home office because of COVID-19 is expected (Béland et al., 2020; Spurk and Straub, 2020; Stürz et al., 2020), but the question still remains:

RQ1.

Have individuals who work in the home office during COVID-19 already had previous experience with this form of work?

The increase in digital work suggests that traditional work forms are less frequently performed during the COVID-19 pandemic. People might perceive digital work in the current situation as a secure source of income. This could also have an impact on the perception of the importance of digital work forms as a source of income in the future. It is also unclear which impact the increase in home offices will have on the perception of the importance of income from traditional jobs as a secure source of income. The questions arise:

RQ2.

Do people predict that digital jobs are more likely to be a secure source of income in the future than before and during the COVID-19 pandemic?

RQ3.

Has the importance of traditional and digital jobs as a secure source of income changed given the COVID-19 pandemic?

Given the current state of research and the changes in the work context due to the COVID-19 pandemic already described, the first hypothesis is formulated as follows:

H1.

People believe that digital transformation of work will spread faster, due to their experience with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The increase in technology use in everyday work (Béland et al., 2020; Spurk and Straub, 2020; Stürz et al., 2020) and changes in working hours (Von Gaudecker, 2020) imply that employees could be working in new ways, using technology to a greater extent and taking on more autonomy. Moreover, people working from home have a lower risk of being infected with COVID-19, which could lead to greater job satisfaction (Hirsh et al., 2012; Tessema et al., 2013). These assertions lead to the second hypothesis:

H2.

People working exclusively from home during the COVID-19 pandemic have greater job satisfaction than people not working exclusively from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the experience with digital work gained through the COVID-19 pandemic, European Commission funding to promote digital change could provide a positive impact on technological change (European Commission, 2020). This funding could also influence workers' predictions for the future of work, in the sense that secure sources of income might be expected with digital work in the future. Following this logic, the last hypothesis is formulated as follows:

H3.

The more people believe in an increased spread of digital transformation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the more likely they are to imagine working exclusively digitally in the future.

4. Method

4.1 Respondents

The data were collected online from March to April 2020. The study sample comprised adults registered as “workers” on the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform. Amazon Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourcing platform on which virtual tasks are processed that require human intelligence. Workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk have the possibility to work on various tasks. These tasks can be performed flexibly in terms of time and location. Respondents resided in the United States, Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom and Germany. The survey was conducted in English. The total sample size was 554, including 95 respondents from the United States, 103 from Italy, 91 from Germany, 95 from Spain, 82 from the United Kingdom and 88 from France. Other demographics are as follows: 62% of the respondents were male and 37% female; most respondents were between 25 and 34 years of age (42%), followed by the 18–24 (24%) and 35–44 (23%) age groups; only 9% were 45–59 years of age and 1% were 60 years or older; 16% of the respondents declared that their primary source of income was crowdsourcing; 32% stated that digital jobs are their main source of income; and 51% claimed traditional jobs as primary source of income.

4.2 Procedure

Before they began the survey, respondents learned about data protection and agreed to participate voluntarily in the survey. After they had given their consent, they answered questions about life satisfaction; the influence of COVID-19 on everyday work life; predictions about the influence of COVID-19 on the digital transformation of work; income security of crowdsourcing, digital and traditional jobs (before COVID-19, now, future); experience with COVID-19 and demographic variables. An attention check was included to exclude bots. Each participant received $0.40, and responding to all questions took on average 6 min.

4.3 Measures

4.3.1 Satisfaction with current situation

To measure the satisfaction with different parts of life, life satisfaction was measured with a questionnaire based on the German Socio-Economic Panel (2020). Respondents responded on a ten-item scale from 1 (“not at all satisfied”) to 10 (“very satisfied”) to the question “How satisfied are you today with the following areas of your life?” with regard to ten variables covering various parts of everyday life (e.g. job, personal income, free time).

4.3.2 Influence of COVID-19 on everyday work life

Seven questions measured the influence of the pandemic on the working reality. Some questions (e.g. “Do you work from home on a regular basis?” “Do you work from home because of COVID-19?”) could be answered with “yes”, “no” and “from time to time”. Other questions asked, for example, about the extent to which respondents' work life and income had been influenced. These questions were measured on a ten-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (“no influence”) to 10 (“major influence”).

4.3.3 Predictions about the influence of COVID-19 on the digital transformation of work

Respondents next evaluated how COVID-19 could change work. A seven-point Likert scale from 1 (“totally disagree”) to 7 (“totally agree”) measured level of agreement with seven sentences (e.g. “Based on my experience with COVID-19, I believe that digital forms of work will establish faster”; “Based on my experience with COVID-19, I believe that in the future there will be more situations that require digital work”).

4.3.4 Income security

Respondents were provided with the definitions of traditional jobs, digital work and crowdsourcing. Then, they were asked to provide their opinion on the sentence, “To me digital work is a secure source of income right now”, on a seven-point Likert scale from 1 (“totally disagree”) to 7 (“totally agree”). They also had the option to state that the sentence was “not applicable”. The question was adapted to measure the perceived income security of traditional jobs and crowdsourcing. In addition, the time varied. The question asked whether the three work forms were a secure source of income before COVID-19, during COVID-19 and if they will be in the future.

4.3.5 Experience with COVID-19 and demographic variables

As a control variable, the questionnaire measured personal experience with COVID-19. Respondents also indicated the extent to which they were concerned about contracting COVID-19 on a five-point Likert-type scale from 1 (“not at all concerned”) to 5 (“very concerned”). The survey concluded with questions about age, gender, education, main source of income (traditional job, digital work or crowdsourcing), marital status and number of people living in the household.

5. Analyses and results

5.1 Statistical analyses

The data were analysed with paired t-tests and multiple regression. To test the first hypothesis, I determined the amount of people working remotely before and during COVID-19. To analyse the second hypothesis, respondents were divided into two groups with regard to their answers to the statement, “Based on my experience with COVID-19, I believe that digital forms of work will establish faster”. Then, I determined the significance of group differences.

I used multiple regression to explore whether working remotely had an influence on job satisfaction (H3). The analysis comprised four stages. In addition, a multiple regression with two models was used to explore whether people believing in an increased spread of digital transformation due to COVID-19 are more likely to imagine working exclusively from home digitally in the future (H4). To answer RQ1 and RQ2, I analysed the variable income security using paired t-tests.

5.2 Results

5.2.1 More people working in the home office

First, I analysed whether individuals who work in the home office during COVID-19 already had previous experience with this form of work (RQ1). Figure 1 shows that before the COVID-19 crisis, 33% of the respondents worked from home on a regular basis, 24% worked from the home office from time to time and 42% did not work from home at all. Figure 2 shows that since COVID-19, 59% reported working from home, 5% worked from home from time to time and 35% did not use the home office. The number of people working from home because of the virus increased by 27%. At the same time, the amount of people working in the home office from time to time and the amount of people not working at home decreased by 19% and 8%, respectively. These results show that the increase is mostly due to people who already have experience in working from a home.

5.2.2 Changes in secure source of income

Figure 4 shows the results for RQ2 (“Has the importance of traditional and digital jobs as a secure source of income changed given the COVID-19 pandemic?”) and RQ3 (“Do people predict that digital jobs are more likely to be a secure source of income in the future than before and during the COVID-19 pandemic?”). I used a t-test to determine whether the mean values for the perception of traditional jobs and digital work forms in the past and during COVID-19 differ (Note that for this analysis, the variable digital work forms does not include crowdsourcing). Figure 3 shows a significant difference in the importance of traditional (1% level) and digital (5% level) jobs before and during COVID-19, as a secure source of income. Therefore, I conclude that the importance of traditional jobs as a secure source of income decreased and the importance of traditional jobs increased slightly. Figure 4 also shows the prediction for digital work and traditional work forms as a secure source of income in the future. There is a significant (1% level) increase in the importance of digital work over time. Therefore, people predict that digital jobs are more likely to be a secure source of income in the future than before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, people predict that traditional jobs will again increase in importance in the future, but they are considered significantly (1% level) less important as a secure source of income than before the pandemic.

5.2.3 Digital work forms establish faster due to COVID-19

The descriptive analysis of the item “Based on my experience with COVID-19, I believe that digital forms of work will establish faster” (H1) shows that more people agree with this statement than reject it (Figure 4), though 13.9% of the statements are in the centre of the Likert scale, indicating no tendency towards either side. 77 Individuals without a tendency were excluded in the analysis. The results of the Shapiro–Wilk test show that the sample is normally distributed. Therefore, the requirements for a paired t-test are fulfilled.

A paired t-test on a sample of 477 shows a significant difference (p < 0.001) between people who believe in an increase of digital work forms (M = 0.67; SD = 0.021) and people who do not (M = 0.32; SD = 0.021). H2 is therefore accepted.

5.2.4 Home office and job satisfaction

To test H2, I calculated a linear regression with four models (Table 1). The analysis of the Pearson correlation coefficient and the Spearman coefficient shows a linear relationship between the variables, therefore a linear model describes the experimental data adequately. I did not take into account people who reported working in their home office from time to time, because they cannot be clearly assigned to their place of work. Model 1 represents the focal effect of the variable home office through COVID-19 (yes, no) and satisfaction with job situation, showing that people reporting working from home (ß = 1.03) are significantly more satisfied with their job situation than people not working from home at a 1% level. The adjusted R-square shows, however, that only approximately 3% of the variance can be explained by the included variables.

Model 2 includes the variables fear of infection with COVID-19, primary source of income (i.e. crowdsourcing, traditional jobs or digital work), increase of digital transformation, more remote work necessary in the future and preference of a home office job in the future. The influence of working remotely remains highly significant, but no additional variance is explained.

When I include the variables satisfaction with personal income and household income in Model 3, the effect of the variable home office disappears. Instead, a low significant, positive effect (10% level) of household income and a high significant, positive effect (at the 1% level) of personal income on job satisfaction can be observed. Accordingly, people who are satisfied with their financial situation are also more satisfied with their job situation. Personal income (ß = 0.62) has a stronger effect on satisfaction with job situation than household income (ß = 0.08). In Model 3, the adjusted R-square increases to 47%.

The variables country, gender and age, which increased in Model 4, clear up 48% of the variance. Here, the effect of the variable household income disappears. However, the influence of satisfaction on personal income (ß = 0.58) remains highly significant (1% level). In addition, people living in Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom are significantly more dissatisfied with their current job situation than people living in the United States. The effect can be observed at the 1% level for Germany, 5% level for Italy and Spain and 10% level for the United Kingdom. Age and gender have no significant influence on satisfaction with the job situation. Accordingly, country and satisfaction with personal income have an influence on the satisfaction with the job situation. Home office has no influence; therefore, H2 is rejected.

5.2.5 More digital transformation and greater willingness to work remotely

To test H3, I calculated a multiple linear regression with two models (Table 2). The analysis of the Pearson correlation coefficient and the Spearman coefficient shows a linear relationship between the variables, therefore a linear model describes the experimental data adequately. To control for home office, primary source of income and preference for a home office job in the future, these variables were included as covariates in Model 2. Model 1 shows a strongly significant influence (1% level) of believing that COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of work (ß = 0.53) and believing that more situations in the future will require remote work (ß = 0.20) on likelihood of exclusively working digitally in the future. These two variables account for 51% of the variance in this model, meaning that people who believe in a digital future in the near future are also more likely to imagine working digitally exclusively. After adding the variables preference for a home office job in the future, working remotely because of COVID-19 and the primary source of income, these effects remain strongly significant in Model 2. The stronger the preference of a person to work remotely in the future (ß = 0.20), the more likely he or she is to imagine exclusively working digitally (1% level). In this analysis, I distinguished between people who already worked from home before COVID-19 and those who only began working from home when the COVID-19 pandemic began. The results show that people who already worked from home (ß = 0.31) can imagine themselves significantly (5% level) more likely to work exclusively digitally in the future than people who have not worked remotely in the past. For people who are new to working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, no significant effect emerges. Besides the effect of working at home diminishes if the country of the respondents is included in the analysis (Appendix, Table A1). The preference to work digitally exclusively in the future does not differ significantly depending on the current primary source of income. This result shows that the more a person believes in fast digital change, the more he or she can imagine working exclusively digitally. Thus, the data confirm H3.

6. Discussion

The aim of this research was to investigate whether the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the acceleration of digital transformation of labour. I observed a significant increase in people working from home, using technologies in their daily work life, consistent with previous studies (Béland et al., 2020; Spurk and Straub, 2020; Stürz et al., 2020; Von Gaudecker et al., 2020). However, these studies do not verify the extent to which these people have previously used technology in their everyday work. Figures 1 and 2 show that the increase in working remotely on a regular basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic is mainly a result of the changes in the working behaviour of people who occasionally worked remotely before the pandemic, possibly because these people were more likely to have the necessary infrastructure and competence to implement a quick change without problems. Even if the increase in working remotely is a short-term effect of COVID-19 on daily work routines, the data also show that people predict digital work forms to be significantly more important in the future than they were before the pandemic.

The results capture a moment in time during the COVID-19 pandemic, and predictions about, for example, secure sources of income and development of digital jobs reflect respondents' point of view. This study did not investigate consequences of the pandemic that could influence this development (e.g. rising unemployment, economic downturn); future studies could investigate this topic at a later point in time. The results, however, show a quick assessment of the obstacles of technological change and the willingness to adopt digital forms of work. Willingness to change is a construct that could be helpful in understanding and predicting behaviour at an organisational level (Metselaar, 1997). Willingness to change represents a positive behavioural intention towards the implementation of changes in the work processes of an organisation, which leads to efforts of the organisation's members to support, improve and thus drive the change process (Metselaar, 1997). The data can therefore be interpreted as the basis or prerequisite for change.

The results show that people consider digital work forms significantly more likely to be a secure source of income than traditional jobs. Regarding the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it should be taken into account that the digital transformation has been in process for several years (European Commission, 2017), and digital jobs could have become more important in the future even without COVID-19. However, the data show that most people believe that the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of work. These people are also more likely to imagine working exclusively digitally. This result remains robust after controlling for the primary source of income, which shows that those who have experience engaging in digital work forms are able to imagine doing so exclusively.

The results show that many people are willing to take part in the digital job transformation and that personal income has a substantial influence on job satisfaction (Table 1). However, no significant effect of home office on job satisfaction could be found in the data. Since the data was collected at the beginning of the pandemic, it is possible that individuals need to get used to this new work situation. It is also possible that working remotely is not yet efficient enough at this point (e.g. availability of right technologies, consultation with superiors and colleagues). A survey at a later date, which will examine the working conditions in the home office more closely, is necessary to get a more concrete overview.

Companies should investigate how to ensure the job satisfaction of people in the home office. One way could be to invest more in remote work technology to make the use of this form of work more efficient. Overall, a balance between traditional and remote models should be considered in the transformation of work. As remote work spreads, the development of remote work policies by human resource departments and policymakers must also be accelerated. This is important to ensure the protection of employees.

7. Limitations

This research has three limitations, which should be considered when drawing conclusions from the analyses. First, the data were collected on a crowdsourcing platform. Even if the majority of the respondents do not state crowdsourcing as their primary source of income, it can be assumed that they may have already had a certain affinity and experience with digital work.

Second, the data were collected at early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of the pandemic was at different stages in the countries in which surveys were collected. In addition, the governments of these countries exhibited significant differences in the measures taken. Considering 66% of the data set reported an age of 18–34 years, the respondents were rather young, which might have influenced their acceptance of digital work forms and willingness to implement them in their lives.

Third, the participants of the study see the conditions under which they are working on a task before they process it. Amazon Mechanical Turk provides them with the average time it takes to process a task and the salary paid. This leads to self-selection of the participants and to a non-probability sample.

8. Conclusion

This study shows that the basis for digital change in the time of COVID-19 is solid. The pandemic has increased the number of people working remotely, and people view it as an accelerator of digital transformation. In addition, people perceive that their experience with the pandemic has made them more likely to work digitally exclusively, especially people who perceive that the pandemic has caused rapid change. Furthermore, the importance of digital work as a secure source of income has increased. Job satisfaction does not differ between people who work remotely and those who continue to work at their workplace; satisfaction with personal income has a great influence. The results show that people perceive a change in the importance of different job forms through COVID-19. Based on respondents' assessments, it appears that more people are willing to switch from a job exclusively to digital work. Given the assessments of the respondents and the promotion of digital transformation, it appears that more people are willing to switch from going to a workplace to exclusively living from digital work. Although the results confirm the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the acceleration of digital transformation, further studies are necessary to confirm this statement in the long run.

Figures

Amount of people working in the home office before COVID-19 crisis (N = 554)

Figure 1

Amount of people working in the home office before COVID-19 crisis (N = 554)

Amount of people working in the home office during COVID-19 crisis (N = 554)

Figure 2

Amount of people working in the home office during COVID-19 crisis (N = 554)

Importance of traditional and digital work forms as a secure source income (mean)

Figure 3

Importance of traditional and digital work forms as a secure source income (mean)

Digital work will establish faster due to COVID-19 (N = 554)

Figure 4

Digital work will establish faster due to COVID-19 (N = 554)

Linear regression on satisfaction with the current job situation

(1)(2)(3)(4)
Sit. job satis.Sit. job satis.Sit. job satis.Sit. job satis.
Home office (Ref. No home office)
Yes1.03***1.04***0.290.25
(0.23)(0.24)(0.19)(0.19)
Scared being infected 0.04−0.05−0.09
(0.11)(0.09)(0.09)
Primary income (Ref. crowd)
Digital work 0.31−0.14−0.14
(0.34)(0.25)(0.25)
Traditional job 0.02−0.14−0.12
(0.32)(0.24)(0.24)
Digitalisation faster −0.03−0.04−0.01
(0.12)(0.09)(0.09)
Fut. more home office 0.080.150.14
(0.11)(0.09)(0.08)
Fut. job home office −0.04−0.010.01
(0.09)(0.07)(0.07)
Satisfied household income 0.08*0.08
(0.05)(0.05)
Satisfied personal income 0.62***0.58***
(0.05)(0.05)
Country (Ref. USA)
Italy −0.70**
(0.28)
Germany −0.96***
(0.30)
Spain −0.67**
(0.28)
UK −0.51*
(0.31)
France −0.45
(0.31)
Sex 0.30
(0.17)
Age 0.12
(0.09)
N506501477477
Adj. R20.030.030.470.48
Root MSE2.502.501.831.81
Constant5.274.981.691.66

Note(s): *p < 0.10; **p < 0.05; ***p < 0.01 (Std. Err.)

Linear regress on exclusively working digitally

(1)(2)
Exclusively digital workExclusively digital work
Digitalisation faster0.53***0.53***
(0.06)(0.06)
Fut. more home office0.20***0.19***
(0.06)(0.05)
Fut. job home office 0.20***
(0.04)
(0.05)
Home office (Ref. No home office)
Yes, due to COVID-19 0.26
(0.15)
Yes 0.31**
(0.17)
Primary income (Ref. crowd)
Digital work 0.16
(0.16)
Traditional job 0.08
(0.18)
N552517
Adj. R20.530.56
Root MSE1.821.24
Constant0.70−0.20

Note(s): *p < 0.10; **p < 0.05; ***p < 0.01 (Std. Err.)

Linear regression on exclusively working digitally controlling for country

(1)(2)(3)
Excl. digital workExcl. digital workExcl. digital work
Digitalisation faster0.53***0.53***0.56***
(0.06)(0.06)(0.06)
Fut. more home office0.20***0.19***0.18***
(0.06)(0.05)(0.05)
Fut. job home office 0.20***0.20***
(0.04)(0.04)
Home office (Ref. No home office)
Yes, due to COVID-19 0.26*0.22
(0.14)(0.15)
Yes 0.31*0.23
(0.16)(0.17)
Primary income (Ref. crowd)
Digital work 0.140.26
(0.17)(0.18)
Traditional job 0.060.14
(0.16)(0.17)
Satisfied personal income −0.03
(0.04)
Satisfied household income −0.04
(0.03)
Satisfied free time 0.02
(0.02)
Satisfied job situation −0.01
(0.03)
Country (Ref. USA)
Italy −0.29
(0.20)
Germany −0.54***
(0.20)
Spain −0.26
(0.19)
UK −0.25
(0.20)
France −0.07
(0.20)
Sex −0.03
(0.12)
Age −0.04
(0.06)
N552518472
R20.510.540.57
Root MSE1.821.241.21
Constant0.70−0.490.13

Note(s): *p < 0.10; **p < 0.05; ***p < 0.01 (Std. Err.)

Appendix

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Acknowledgements

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.

Corresponding author

Lisa Nagel can be contacted at: lisa.nagel@uni-bremen.de