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Teleworking continues to rise across Europe


The number of individual eWorkers (people using new information and communication technologies to work from home or on the move) could reach over 27 million in Europe by 2010, according to the latest EMERGENCE study, Modelling eWork in Europe, published by the Institute for Employment Studies.

The Modelling eWork in Europe study concentrates on ‘individual’ forms of eWork, which take place away from traditional office premises. Four types of ‘individual’ eWorkers (or ‘teleworkers’) are identified in the study:

Telehomeworkers. Employees who use a computer and telecommunications link to conduct their work, and are based wholly or mainly in their homes. Their numbers are estimated to grow from a modest 810,000 in 2000 to just over three million by 2010, across the EU.

Multilocational eWorkers. A much more numerous group, estimated at 3.7 million in the EU in 2000, including employees who alternate between a home and an office workstation, or who work nomadically from multiple locations: forecast to grow to over 14 million by 2010.

eLancers. Self-employed workers who supply business services to clients using a computer and a telecommunications link. Estimated at 1.45 million in 2000, and likely to double over the decade across the EU.

The eEnabled self-employed. Self-employed people who work from their homes but who do not supply business services. This group stood at some 3.08 million in Europe in 2000 and is forecast to grow to 6.58 million in ten years.

Multilocational eWorking by employees will form the largest part of this growth, and this is generally regarded as the most desirable form of eWorking. For the employee it offers the security of a permanent contract, whilst reducing the risks of social isolation and poor career prospects associated with telehomeworking. For the employer, it offers flexibility, improved retention and loyalty, and efficiency gains.

The study concludes that the willingness of employers and workers to embrace technological and organisational change will be a decisive factor in shaping future working patterns in the EU.

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