Data economy challenges skills and worker wellbeing in SMEs

Wellbeing at Work from Digitalisation (WWFD) -project started online-visits to SMEs in Turku region in autumn 2021 to discuss data economy, digitalisation and their impact on worker wellbeing. Our preliminary observations from discussions reveal new important points for development that the projects aims to tackle to support SMEs’ wellbeing and competitiveness.

SMEs we met perceived data as an increasingly important part of their business models. Many would want to adopt more efficient data processing tools but lack in necessary skills and time for adoption and training in the hectic environment.

Entrepreneurs recognise in several challenges in worker wellbeing encouraged by digitalisation: overwhelming number of systems and interfaces is tiring, digital tools lag behind modern standards, knowledge often remains undocumented, and communicative tools for business developments need revision. Digital tools enable bringing work from office to homes, which makes balancing work and personal life ever more difficult. Since SMEs work in a highly networked environment addressing these issues is rarely only in the hands of one business, which leads to wellbeing of one company being reflected to the entire ecosystem.

Transformation needs to be cost-efficient and support worker wellbeing. Issues are approached by placing the knowledge worker in control of the change process, finding control in their own work, coping with knowledge and digital tools. Actions must fit the environment of SME’s, meaning flexible and easy-to-adopt measures, which fits the context of knowledge work and data economy like a glove.

Is this the story in your company as well, or do you have something more to tell? Are you too interested in strengthening your company’s data skills and worker wellbeing in the entire ecosystem? If so, contact our project researcher Salla Ponkala (, +358 50 463 5453) – we are eager to tell more!

Our initial mapping is still in an early stage, and we encourage SMEs to join us to build fair and sustainable data economy and worker wellbeing. Shout out to your networks to share the opportunity!

After the initial mapping, WWFD project moves forward to develop tools for building worker wellbeing by skill development, knowledge sharing and documenting, and participatory processes. We aim at building a toolbox that is scalable for companies of different size and needs, so finding a colourful variety of SMEs to partner with us is essential.

The project is funded as part of union’s reaction to Covid-19 pandemic.

For further information: Project leader Jani Koskinen (, +358 40149 7566)