Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work

Overview

New information and communications technologies (ICT) have revolutionised everyday work and life in the 21st century. They enable people to connect with friends and family – as well as with work colleagues and supervisors – at any point in time; however, they also facilitate the encroachment of paid work into the spaces and times normally reserved for personal life. The uncoupling of paid work from traditional office spaces has been a crucial factor in this development. Today’s office work and, more broadly, knowledge work, is supported by the internet, and can be carried out from practically any location and at any time. This new spatial independence has transformed the role of technology in the work environment, offering both new opportunities and new challenges.

This report considers the impact of telework/ICT-mobile work (T/ICTM) on the world of work. T/ICTM can be defined as the use of ICT – such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers – for the purposes of work outside the employer’s premises. The report synthesises research carried out by Eurofound’s network of European correspondents in 10 EU Member States – Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK – and by ILO country experts in Argentina, Brazil, India, Japan and the US. These contributors were asked to review and summarise the findings of data and research literature on the subject of T/ICTM in their respective countries.

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