Pathways of Digital Transformation – Outlook on Organising Work via Online Platforms

Nina Czernich and Oliver Falck

Pillars Report


The increasing size and importance of digital platforms in various fields of economic activity has raised expectations that virtually everything will be organised via platforms in the future. But will the digital transformation really go that far, or are there limits to it? To answer this question, we have collected and assessed evidence and theoretical arguments about the scope of the gig economy. Moreover, remote work is facilitated by the digital transformation of work processes within firms and has become an important feature of work organization during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our findings reveal significant shifts in the landscape of remote work. While WFH options were rare in job ads prior to the pandemic, the Covid-19 shock triggered an unprecedented surge in remote work. From 2019 to 2022, we observed a five-fold increase in WFH offers, with convergence across regions, industries, and occupations. While work from home is likely here to stay, our literature review reveals that the scope of the gig-economy will be limited. Methodologically convincing studies for the USA and Europe, that employ different and in part innovative approaches to measure the extent of platform work, all find very similar results: Platform work does not play an important role in labour markets and income generated via platform work is rather low and complementary to another main job.