Work & Care project for companies and caring employees

inIT scientists develop intelligent digital platform

The network partners together at a table shortly before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. Online meetings have taken place since then, but the mood remains positive as usual.

In order to optimize the compatibility of care and work and thus improve the situation for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as for caring employees, the project "work & care" was launched in November 2019. The EU-funded project is scheduled for three years and will be implemented by a competence network under the leadership of the Center for Innovation in the Healthcare Industry OWL (ZIG). In addition to ZIG, project partners include the Future Office of the Lippe district, the Institute for Industrial Information Technology (inIT) of the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences, the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, the Institute for Work and Technology (IAT) of the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences, and the Plan G network. The goal of work & care is to develop an innovative support model for small and medium-sized enterprises and caring employees in eastern Westphalia.

"The systematic combination of social and technical innovations helps SMEs to better cope with the increase in caregiving workers caused by demographic challenges. In doing so, we bring together methods of artificial intelligence and data analysis with health sciences," says Professor Helene Dörksen from the inIT board.

Multiple stresses due to work and care will be reduced, absenteeism will be lowered, and retirement will be avoided. The aim is to retain the ability to work and the knowledge of skilled workers in the company. Work & care takes a holistic approach to linking the world of work and the world of life by means of company, inter-company, voluntary and neighborhood-based, and technical-digital solutions. A public portal is to link care, household and other service providers with SMEs and their caring employees. Furthermore, a mobile village helper application is to support volunteer work and help relieve the burden on care-giving employees. This will improve the compatibility of work and care and strengthen the skilled workforce and competitiveness of SMEs in the rural region of OWL.

Already at the start of the project, 31 partners supported the project, including nine small and medium-sized enterprises, seven districts or their business development agencies, two chambers of industry and commerce, a working group of health insurance companies in eastern Westphalia, a large company, a supply network, a competence network and a district innovation center. In addition, two company health insurance funds in the region, the BKK Arbeitsgemeinschaft OWL and the Bielefeld Employment Agency are contributing their expertise in sustainable supply and consulting services to the project work.

About the Institute for Industrial Information Technology (inIT):

The Institute for Industrial Information Technology (inIT) at the OWL University of Applied Sciences in Lemgo is one of the leading research institutions in the field of industrial information technology and currently employs more than 70 people.

At inIT, information and communication technologies (ICT) are harmonized with the high demands of automation technology. Industrial communication, industrial image processing and pattern recognition, distributed real-time software, computer intelligence and human-technology interaction form the institute's five areas of expertise. Research is conducted under the roof of the CENTRUM INDUSTRIAL IT (CIIT) research and development center on the Innovation Campus Lemgo. The inIT is one of the leading research institutions in the BMBF top cluster "Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe - it's OWL".