Sustainable Limitless Work – Opportunities, Challenges and Future Scenarios

This report explores limitless working which brings flexibility and freedom, but also brings new pressures to the workplace.

The new ANE report on Sustainable Limitless Work
Click image to read the full report (pdf)

Limitless working brings flexibility and freedom to be able to choose where and when tasks are performed. At the same time, digital site-independent workplaces put new demands on the relationship between employees and employers.

This report explores the effects of limitless working. It is based on a survey on limitless work conducted by the Association of Nordic Engineers among the ANE Nordic engineering trade unions members in the winter of 2020–2021.

Many of the regulations and agreements that regulate responsibility for working conditions stem from the time when employees came to the workplace in the morning and left in the afternoon; a working life where they met managers and colleagues every day, and the tasks had time- and place-specific boundaries. This is not the case anymore. Work-life has changed, and engineers equipped with smartphones and computers can work practically anywhere and at any time. But how limitless can managers and employees be while maintaining health and wellbeing?

There are both positive and negative outcomes of limitless working and we must create a way forward for the limitless work where we can increase the benefits and mitigate the negative outcomes.

The data shows, for example, that the well-being of young employees in exclusively limitless work is affected, that working days grow longer, that gender equality can be impacted negatively, and that loneliness, ill-health, and lack of creativity can increase.

However, at the same time, there is a possibility that a well-managed limitless working life can create a more equal and better work-life balance with benefits for both the employees and the employer.

The report shows that there is no one solution that fits all and it is essential that employers still be responsible for ensuring a good environment for limitless working. An environment where collective rights are secured and where managers are empowered to and skilled at arranging work according to each employee’s individual needs.

Below you can watch the recording of the live launch of the report on September 21, 2021.