The Nordic countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and their associated territories) have long been known for a highly progressive labor and welfare model that places strong emphasis on employee protection. Now, companies there are turning to digital tools as a new approach to employee retention. In a report published last week, international technology research and advisory firm Information Services Group noted that employees in the region are demanding technologies that will allow them better work-life balance by enabling flexible and remote work.
The 2019 ISG Provider Lens Digital Workplace of the Future Report found that Nordic companies are seeking to set up digital workplaces that incorporate the tools and platforms for employees to work at any time, from anywhere.
“With the increase of easy-to-use technology tools in their personal lives, employees expect a similar experience in their work environments,” said Jan Erik Aase, director and global leader, ISG Provider Lens Research. In contrast, he observed that workplaces which retain legacy technology and do not offer comparable levels of flexibility are likely to suffer “a significant increase in employee attrition and low levels of worker satisfaction.”
The report also found that alongside remote and flexible work, the companies are looking into the use of AI to power employee self-help and self-service features, giving employees the resources and autonomy to resolve issues independently. And they are moving towards increased automation to reduce low-level repetitive tasks, thereby freeing employees up to focus on higher-level work and ideally improving their job satisfaction.
This deployment of technology to boost employee welfare may go some way toward addressing previously-raised concerns about the impact of disruptive technology on the Nordic work-life models. In 2018, for example, the Nordic Council of Ministers released a report which identified digitization and AI as potentially damaging to the social understanding that traditionally underpins the Nordic model. That report, “The Nordic Future of Work: Drivers, Institutions, and Politics”, also observed: “The actors in Nordic working life are used to change, and have always seen cooperation on technological development, productivity, and restructuring as a necessary means to foster growth, better jobs and welfare.”