Psychological Impacts of the New Ways of Working (NWW): A Systematic Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jul 14;17(14):5080. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17145080.


Digitalization of knowledge work is essential for today's organizations, responding to diversified employee needs. Many organizations are already implementing some form of flexibility to help workers perform work and non-work duties, while maintaining high productivity. While these changes in workplaces, "New Ways of Working (NWW)", have been discussed in the literature, a systematic appraisal of evidence of NWW has not been conducted. Relating to poor work-related mental health worldwide, this systematic review analyzed the psychological impacts of NWW, and the quality and quantity of NWW research. Following the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines, NWW studies targeting psychological outcomes were evaluated. Initial literature search on ProQuest, PsycINFO, Science Direct, and Google Scholar retrieved 308 titles, from which seven articles fulfilled all inclusion criteria. Our appraisal revealed that NWW research evaluated diverse psychological outcomes. While NWW can help workers' engagement, work-related flow, and connectivity among staff, NWW can also increase blurred work-home boundary, fatigue, and mental demands. The quality of NWW research was overall medium, needing more rigorous studies. Our findings can inform decision-makers in the workplace to effectively implement NWW, and researchers to improve the quality and the usefulness of future NWW studies.

Keywords: autonomy; fatigue; mental demands; new ways of working; organizational commitment; psychological impacts; systematic review; work engagement; work-life boundary.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatigue*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Workload
  • Workplace*