Mental well-being platform workers under pressure

Bezorger thuisbezorgd
Joriet van Eck

The mental health of people who do so-called platform work is worse than that of those who do not. This is according to research by the strategy group at Erasmus School of Behavioural Sciences. Researchers Yuri Scharp and Claartje ter Hoeven recently spoke to Dutch news channel NOS about the findings. How can platform work become attractive again?

Examples of platform work include delivering meals, offering taxi rides, or doing cleaning and handyman work through an online platform. The number of platform workers is skyrocketing. In 2020, there were around 28 million in the EU. This is expected to rise to 43 million by 2025.

Tired and lonely

Assistant professor Yuri Scharp says platform workers are regularly exhausted by physical and mental pressure. "They also experience less freedom and find the work monotonous".

The research also reveals that platform workers have little contact with colleagues and experience little emotional support. Furthermore, they find the work-life balance poor and experience a lot of job insecurity.

Not a platform company but retailer

Commenting on the findings of the study, many platform companies say they do not recognise themselves in the term 'platform company'. For example, flash delivery company Gorrilas calls itself a retailer and the food delivery company Thuisbezorgd does not recognise itself in the feedback they get from their delivery drivers.

Prof Claartje ter Hoeven does not think the nature of the employment relationship determines whether a company belongs to a platform economy: "What matters is whether a digital platform brings supply and demand together. It would be nice if these companies looked more into the various aspects of 'decent work' such as, in addition to acceptable pay, being able to claim protection, training, participation and safe work."

dr. Yuri Scharp
More information

Read the full article at (in Dutch).

The researchers of the 'Platform Labor Group' focus on platform labor in the broadest sense. Read all about it here.

Related content
The government can play a major role in improving the working conditions and welfare of platform workers. This is according to research by Erasmus University
Researcher Yuri Scharp talks about the study into platform workers within the master's programme Digitalisation in Work and Society (DWS)
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