24th July 2017
ILO: Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work
Regarding the positive effects of T/ICTM, workers report a reduction in commuting time, greater working time autonomy leading to more flexibility in terms of working time organisation, better overall work–life balance, and higher productivity. The disadvantages of T/ICTM are the tendency to lead to longer working hours, to create an overlap between paid work and personal life (work–home interference), and to result in work intensification, International Labour Organisation says,
- Because the use of ICT outside the employer’s premises has benefits for both employees and companies, policymakers should aim to accentuate the positive effects and reduce the negative ones: for example, by promoting part-time T/ICTM, while restricting informal, supplemental T/ICTM, or highmobile T/ICTM involving long working hours.
- In practical terms, the organisation of working time is changing and working time regulations need toreflect this reality. It is particularly important to address the issue of supplemental T/ICTM, which could be viewed as unpaid overtime, and to ensure that minimum rest periods are respected.
- A major challenge to applying OSH prevention principles and health and safety legislation to T/ICTM is the difficulty in supervising working environments outside the employer’s premises. A project by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) – Foresight on new and emerging risks in occupational safety and health associated with ICT and work location by 2025 – will help policymakers address these challenges.
- To fully harness the potential of T/ICTM and improve the working conditions of the workers involved, training and awareness initiatives are needed for both employees and managers on the effective use of ICT for working remotely, as well as the potential risks, and how to effectively manage the flexibility provided by this arrangement.
- T/ICTM can play a part in policies that aim to promote inclusive labour markets and societies, as some country examples indicate that it increases the labour market participation of certain groups, such as older workers, young women with children and people with disabilities.
- Governmental initiatives and national or sectoral collective agreements are important for providing the overall framework for a T/ICTM strategy. This framework needs to provide sufficient space for developing specific arrangements that serve the needs and preferences of both workers and employers.
- The findings regarding differences in the working conditions of those engaged in different types of T/ICTM – for example home-based telework or high mobile work, need to be considered. Policy measures should tackle the reasons underlying the negative effects on working conditions identified by the study
Read also ILO's Frequently Asked Questions on Climate Change and Jobs.