Digitizing Social Counseling—Insights for Workplace Health Management

Wiebke Schlenger*, Marlies Jöllenbeck, Tjorven Stamer, Angelika Grosse, Elke Ochsmann

*Corresponding author for this work
3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Working digitally can lead to changes in work organization and social interactions, as well as work pace and workload. Online counseling is more and more integrated in social counseling. Research exists on employees’ and users’ attitudes towards online counseling as well as on the advantages and disadvantages of online counseling. There is a lack of studies on the stressors and strains caused by the increasing digitalization and the associated health consequences in this context. With an interview study, we investigated the general work situation of counselors, with a focus on stressors, strain, and resources caused by online counseling. Consecutively, we discuss the results in relation to their impact on workplace health management. Twenty-two explorative interviews with counselors from a German welfare organization were conducted in 2019 and 2020. Qualitative content analysis according to Mayring was used for analysis. Counselors’ use of online devices depends on their own digital affinity and is likely to be used when advantages for clients are seen. Difficulties were mentioned in establishing a relationship of trust with the clients. Good teamwork and regular informal exchanges among colleagues contribute to job satisfaction. Overall, we found only few health-related effects. Results of the study suggest that digitization can have positive effects on the job satisfaction of counselors, if the associated changes are supported by organizational measures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number917
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number2
ISSN1661-7827
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2022

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-10 Toxicology, Occupational Medicine, Clinical Chemistry

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