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Mobile, Remote and blue-collar: Using information and communication technology to elevate workplace well-being

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Abstract

Remote and mobile workers (RMWs) are typically blue-collar workers such as repair/installation engineers, delivery drivers and construction workers, who constitute a significant share of the workforce. They work away from a home or office work-base, and are highly dependent on ICT for completing their work tasks. Low workplace well-being has been a key concern regarding RMWs. The objective of this research is to understand how RMWs can use ICT use to elevate workplace well-being. Drawing from the Demand-Control theory, we first theorize that distinctive work characteristics faced by RMWs can be viewed in the conceptual framing of information-processing 'demands'. We then conceptualize RMWs' practices of ICT use as possible means of 'control' to counter these demands. In this research-in-progress paper we report on an interpretive and interview-based study of twenty-eight RMWs employed in two firms in the UK, across fourteen remote work sites. Initial findings reveal that while RMWs faced high levels of information-processing demands due to their work conditions, they also were able to develop practices of ICT use that enabled them to meaningfully address these demands. Further, we see indications that existence of these practices was associated with higher workplace well-being. Expected theoretical contributions and ongoing analysis are discussed. © 26th European Conference on Information Systems: Beyond Digitization - Facets of Socio-Technical Change, ECIS 2018. All Rights Reserved.