Research into future of work begins

To help prepare for workplace issues of the future, the NSW Government has selected four research partners to explore key emerging risks in health and safety.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, said the winners will be allocated $660,000 to conduct this important research project.

“The future of work will be vastly different from today’s landscape, and we want to be ready to adapt so that we can continue to protect our workforce,” Mr Anderson said.

Out of 58 applicants, proposals from Edith Cowan University, University of Adelaide, Charles Sturt University and PhD student Reverend Mark Layson have been selected as winners.

“The four areas we’ve chosen are incredibly important and have the potential to transform the workplace and make it healthier, safer and more sustainable for everyone,” Mr Anderson said.

The selected research projects will be focusing on; the increased use and ethical considerations of AI in workplaces, the mental health concerns of flexible and remote working, and mitigating psychological harms for our frontline emergency service employees.

“The findings of these projects will help us to have the right conversations and develop the best policies to mitigate these risks both in the short and longer term,” Mr Anderson said.

“We anticipate some great outcomes from these projects and look forward to seeing how they support the NSW workforce for generations to come.”

The Centre for Work Health and Safety is focused on investing in innovative game-changing research, with more opportunities for programs like the Changing World of Work Program in the future.


Study #1: Edith Cowan University

Considering the current COVID-19 pandemic, this study will examine the psychosocial risks of flexible, remote and telecommuting work arrangements.

The research project is divided into three phases:

  1. A broad survey of flexible workers, collecting data concerning their exposure to psychological risks.
  2. A qualitative investigation via interviewing a sample of 35 flexible workers from different organisations with varying demographic profiles.
  3. A co-design activity where a mixed group of stakeholders will develop guidelines to help workers adjust to new work arrangements.

Study #2: University of Adelaide

This study will focus on the ethical deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace and examine the extent to which its development and deployment considers the impact on workers wellbeing.

Study #3: Charles Sturt University

Decision-aid technologies are becoming more common in the workplace, and this study aims to identify and reduce the psychological barriers to accepting advice from ‘thinking machines’ such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Study #4: Charles Sturt University

This study will work with first responder organisations to investigate how psychological injury can be reduced after workers have been exposed to traumatic events.

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