Jennie Jackson belongs to the strategic research area, Health Promoting Work (in Swedish, Hälsofrämjande arbete - HA) and is actively engaged in research regarding the work environment, health and equality. She has ongoing research projects in partnership with both the commercial laundry and online warehousing sectors.
Jennie Jackson is program manager for the university´s interdiciplinary strategic research program, Inclusive Work Life (in Swedish, Inkluderande Arbetsliv - INKA), which is one of four research programs under the Health-Promoting Work strategic research area.
Jennie Jackson is coordinator for the international Goldilocks Work network and arranges regular workshops and the annual symposium for the international research group. The goal of Goldilocks Work is to improve global public health and employability by designing productive jobs that promote worker health and capacity.
Handel 4.0? Work environment and inequality in online warehousing
Background: Equality at work is a key component in creating a sustainable society. Stuudies have shown that organizational processes and practices in retail stores may create patterna of inequality, which in turn are associated with differences in working conditions, division of work tasks and physical and psychosocial workloads, for example, based on gender or country of birth.
E-retailing is growing rapidly, and 25% of the new job opportunities this yeas in retail will be offered in the e-retail sector. However, knowledge is lacking concerning work and equality in e-retail, which likely differs considerably from that in traditional retail stores. While traditional retail stores employ few foreignborn workers, we have indications that the numbers are considerably larger in e-retail. How gender and country of birth affect working conditions, division of work tasks and physical and psychosocial workload has not yet been considered.
Aim: The overall aim is to examine factors at the organizational and individual levels underlying differences in working conditions, work tasks, workloads and musculoskeletal health from the prespective of gender and country of birth.
This project is in partnership with Luleå Technical University.
The Goldilocks Principle: better health and physical capacity through productive work
Background: Traditional ergonomics has been driven by a paradigm of reducing loads. But in many occupations today, the workload has become so low that it in itself leads to health problems and poor physical capacity. One way of increasing physical capacity could be to offer employee training during work hours, however, this would result in non-productive working hours. With inspiration from exercise physiology, we have argued for a new paradigm, the Goldilocks principle where health promoting productive work should be developed a combination of heavier and lighter tasks in a time pattern that produces a mental and physical "training effect". The Goldilocks principle as been well received in working life, but an extensive research effort is required to find out in which professions you can create Goldilocks combinations of tasks, how the principle is practiced in companies, what physical, mental and production-related results you can achieve in Goldilocks work, and to what extent it is possible to spread the paradigm, in working life.
Aim: Through a number of individual projects, this framework program wants to produce evidence that can explain in which occupations, in which ways and with what success the Goldilocks principle can be realized in working life.
An innovative job rotation for improved work environment and equality (Rotovation)
Background: Sufficient physical and mental variety is considered by both researchers and practitioners to be a prerequisite for work to be health-promoting. The Swedish Work Environment Agenccy´s ergonomics regulations (AFS 2012:2) point to work expansion (work rotation) as one of several ways to create variety. At the same time, we and others have ahown that the existing knowledge about the effect of job rotation is meager and contradictory. There are few studies that have used robust methods to assess the degree to which a job rotation can affect the physical and psychosocial work environment and the health of employees, and even fewer studies have considered the context of equality and social justice.
This research is based at the Elis commercial laundromat in Ockelbo, Sweden, where approximately 20 tons of hospital, restaurant and hotel laundry are recieved every day, sorted, washed, mangled, packaged and sent back to the customer by approximately 60 employees. The work tasks are typically repetitive and hand intensive, but there is also heavier manual materials handling involved in some jobs. Both unions and employers were concerned by significant workload problems, by the fact that the employees only had competence for few tasks, and by the fact that the tasks were unequally distributed, especially between those born in Sweden and those born abroad. Together with the company, we have developed and innovative, team-based job rotation that is based on Goldilocks Work principles. We have collected objective data to describe the work environment, production and equality both before and after the implementation of the job rotation. The rotation itself was started in 2020, but was then delayed by the corona pandemic. The job rotation was implemented in 2021, follow-up measurements were conducted in 2022 and analysis is underway.
Purpose: The purpose of the study is to evaluate a job rotation, developed in collaboration between researchers and the company. The aim of the job rotation is to improve the physical and psychosocial work environment through increased variety, promote equality and equality in working conditions, and company resilience. These goals must be achieved without negatively affecting production.
The effects of an external crisis on work environment, health and social equality among Swedish- and foreign-born workers: a case study at a laundromat
Background: To date, little research has been conducted regarding working conditions, work environment and health experiences of immigrant workers, particularly in Sweden, let alone how experiences may differ between Swedish- and foreign born workers during crisis times. In spring, 2018, we began a research project (Rotovation) in collaboration with, and initiated by, the commercial laundromat, Elis (former Berendsen), in Ockelbo.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the laundromat, which serves hospitals in both Gästrikland and Jämtland and thus provides essential support for the health care system. Employees face risks both in the actual work performed, since they are tasked with handling Corona-contaminated goods requiring special handling and double washing procedures, as well as through contact with other employees, since their work cannot be done from home, nor can recommendations for physical distancing always be strictly observed when performing work tasks. The pandemic has also caused a drastic shift in the balance and type of work performed at the laundromat and resulted in constantly changing volumes of work and altered work tasks. Finally, the pandemic has also resulted in eco-nomic pressures on the employees as the decrease in goods has led to furloughing of approximately 50% of the full-time employees, fluctuations in working hours, and layoffs for all temporary workers.
Aim: To document the actions of management and the changes in physical and psychosocial work environment and employee health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis of assessing social and gender equality in managerial decisions and employee response.
Identifying causes of musculoskeletal disorders and the long-term consequences using Swedish registers
Background: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are common in society and, together with mental illness, cause the majority of sickness absence and disability pension in Sweden. In the construction industry it has been estimated that 45% of workers will exit the workforce on disability pension, with MSDs being the most common cause (Järvholm et al., 2014). Understanding the occupationally related causal factors for MSDs is important for primary prevention and, subsequently, health promotion at work.
Aim: To assess the association between occupational biomechanical exposures and onset of MSDs in the neck, shoulder and arm, and to study the long-term consequences of MSDs for paid employment in terms of ‘survival’ and ‘workability’ in the construction industry using the Bygghälsokohorten cohort of more than 389, 000 construction workers.
This project is in partnership with Umeå University.
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