PEROSH researchers host special session on frontline service work at Espanet2021

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The European Network for Social Policy Analysis (Espanet) aims to facilitate exchange and co-operation among social policy analysts in Europe. This year’s conference will be held online between 31 August and 3 September. Please follow this link for more information.

Two researchers from BAuA, our German PEROSH member, will host a special session on frontline service work in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nadja Dörflinger and Anita Tisch invite PEROSH members to submit an abstract for this session.

Service work has become a major theme in employment research for the last two decades. Existing research has shed light on the role of employees within the service triangle, the competing demands that may come along with their position in between the organisation and the customer, and the potentially high emotional demands of service work (e.g. Leidner 1993; Korczynski 2002; Hochschild 1983).
The COVID-19 pandemic creates another major challenge to those in frontline service roles or so-called ‘critical occupations’, characterised by direct contact with customers, patients or related groups: as social interactions at work are inherent to their jobs, those workers are particularly exposed to health-and-safety risks. They are more exposed to contagion, as social-distancing rules at work cannot always be followed. Moreover, the pandemic has even increased (emotional) demands for many workers and comes along with higher work intensity.

In this session, we are interested in papers that empirically investigate service work as well as conceptual/theoretical contributions dealing with the nature of frontline or interactive service work in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We invite contributions, inter alia, addressing the following questions:

•          How are work demands and working conditions in frontline service work changing in times of the pandemic? What are the implications for occupational safety and health?

•          Are certain social groups among frontline service workers particularly exposed to risks in the context of the pandemic? Does this lead to increased precarity and/or (new) inequalities? What could/should be done about it (also related to protection schemes)?

•          How can social protection systems and regulatory structures on different levels (European, national, sectoral, organisational level) contribute to creating decent as well as healthy and safe working conditions in frontline service work? How can the social partners support the creation of such working conditions?

Deadline Abstract Submissions (400 words): 18 April 2021.
More information can be found here.

Contact details for additional information:
Nadja Dörflinger  doerflinger.nadja@baua.bund.de

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PEROSH comprises 14 Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) institutes

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