Chapter 1: Telework and its effects in Europe
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Europe combines several unique features in regard to the development, incidence and effects of telework. Many countries on the continent have seen large-scale economic shifts over the past five decades, away from employment in manufacturing and towards information and telecommunication-enabled service and knowledge-based jobs. This development has coincided with an increasing demand for flexible workplace and working time policies at the national, sectoral and company levels, fuelled by a steady rise in dual-earner households owing to increasing female labour market participation. Europe is also unique in the sense that policy-making and social dialogue are embedded in a 2002 framework agreement for telework on the supranational level, namely the European Union. This agreement among EU-level social partners has changed the nature of dialogue and policy-making in relation to telework in ways not found outside the region. A comparison of European countries also reveals how telework can, against the backdrop of these common characteristics, develop differently depending on social and economic settings. The chapter discusses these particularities in detail using 2015 data from the European Working Conditions Survey and detailed national reports compiled by experts from ten countries on the Continent.