Telework in Europe and Latvia: State-of-the-art and Future Prospects
Keywords:smart work, telework, labour management, regional development, rural development
AbstractPurpose of the article: More usually companies are using telework – a wide-spread practice that allows employees and their tasks to be shared across settings away from central place of business or physical organizational location. Flexible work arrangements are increasingly seen as a key in helping women and men strike a better balance between work, private and family life. Moreover, telework may serve as a tool for regional development as it allows reaching the concentration of resources by using information and communication technologies. Methodology/methods: The article has been prepared based on the analysis of primary and secondary sources, outcome synthesis and the evaluation of results of a survey of public officials of Latvia (n=1244) and semistructured interviews with five teleworkers. Scientific aim: The purpose of this research is to assess the demand for telework in Latvia and make suggestions for the facilitation of telework (not only in metropolitan, but also less populated areas) by taking into account the European experience. Findings: Even if the issue of telework (distant work, smart work) can be found in the European Commission’s agenda the level of employees in European Union working as teleworkers is still rather low. The Latvian case study shows that there is a potential to extend the use of telework. Young people who have established their own business are the first in line to become teleworkers. Also public sector officials would like to be involved in teleworking and believe that it would increase their performance. However, most of the employed are sceptical about the use of telework. Conclusions: Explanatory and encouraging measures could help to foster the use of telework. Establishment of smart work centers could be a promising solution for further spread of telework, including the countryside, thus also facilitating the regional development.
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