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New ILO-Eurofound report shows that the use of modern communication technologies facilitates a better overall work-life balance but, at the same time, also blurs the boundaries between work and personal life.
GENEVA / BRUSSELS (ILO News) – The expanding use of digital technologies such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers for work at home and elsewhere is rapidly transforming the traditional model of work. It can improve work-life balance, reduce commuting time, and boost productivity, but it can also potentially result in longer working hours, higher work intensity and work-home interference, according to a new joint ILO-Eurofound report released today.
The new report Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work synthesizes research carried out by both organizations in 15 countries, including ten EU Member States (Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) as well as Argentina, Brazil, India, Japan and the United States. The study identifies several types of employees using new technologies to work outside the employer’s premises, including regular home-based teleworkers, workers performing occasional telework and ICT-mobile work (T/ICTM)* .
The report highlights a number of positive effects of T/ICTM work, such as greater working time autonomy leading to more flexibility in terms of working time organization, and reduced commuting time resulting in a better overall work-life balance and higher productivity. It also identifies several disadvantages such as a tendency to work longer hours, and an overlap between paid work and personal life – which can lead to high levels of stress. The report draws clear distinctions between home-based teleworkers who seem to enjoy better work-life balance and ‘high-mobile’ workers who are more at risk of negative health and well-being outcomes.
“This report shows that the use of modern communication technologies facilitates a better overall work-life balance but, at the same time, also blurs the boundaries between work and personal life, depending on the place of work and the characteristics of different occupations,” said the ILO’s Jon Messenger, co-author of the report.
Click here to continue to read the UN labour body, the ILO’s February 15, 2017 new report on Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work report. To directly access the report click below.
* The incidence of T/ICTM varies substantially, ranging from 2 per cent to 40 per cent of employees, and depending on the country, occupation, sector and the frequency with which employees engage in the type of work. Across the EU-28, an average of about 17 per cent of employees are engaged in T/ICTM. In most countries, larger proportions of workers carry out T/ICTM occasionally rather than on a regular basis.