The term telework various forms of work are summarized in which employees at least do some of the work out of building the employer (it has no employment relationship exist ). Often the work results are thereby sent to the employer via digital channels only. These communication devices such as computers, fax and telephone are often used. There, the term e-Work is being used.

Agreements on work goals, deadlines, etc. are taken by the employer, the work team, or both. The company has inter alia the advantage that it needs to provide less office space available in teleworking. In addition, the skills of employees can continue to be used, which may not appear regularly in the office, such as for childcare.

Telecommuting is regulated frequently either by contract or by operation agreements, less often in industry or company agreements, other European countries also by law. More than other forms of work draws telework not only a labor law regulation requirements by itself, but touched beyond industrial property, privacy, legal liability, etc. questions that are not always addressed in the context of the employment contract, the Works Constitution or by the bargaining parties.

As a pioneer of teleworking computer manufacturers, software developers and telecommunications providers apply. Contrary to assumptions extensive telework is largely a male domain. According to a 2000 survey of women's share in the telework at 34 %; in the alternating homework, the gender proportion was almost identical.

In a European comparison were Great Britain, Switzerland, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands pioneer of teleworking; in southern Europe it will prevail only slowly.

Forms of telework

There are usually various forms of telework distinguished:

  • In the home-based telework ( also often called the home office, in English however, as telecommuting, telework or working from home ) represented by the employee carries out all the work as homework in his own home ( Home Office ). A work in the premises of the company does not exist. Popular this working model for young parents, who said the re-entry is facilitated in the professional life. The performance may be furnished distributed, children can be supplied anyway. For the employer, there is the advantage that professional and corporate knowledge and an estimated labor force remain.
  • Alternating telework is the predominant variant of telework. This is worked alternately at home and in business. The Company provides for working more than one person a job is available, which is then used by them to different and mutually agreed times. Also this working model is especially popular with young parents.
  • The Mobile telework is practiced mainly by representatives, account managers and similar professionals. Here is the activity at different work places (eg in the customers home ) and may the remote access to the company's internal IT infrastructure at the center.

Drivers of development are especially high office rentals such as counteract in London, high commuting costs or times as in London or the surrounding area in the Swiss mountain valleys, and occasionally political attempts of depopulation and the lack of jobs in rural sparsely populated regions. For this purpose, z.T. and existing schools, administrative buildings etc. on the land being converted ( Telecenter, see below).


In addition, listed in some cases:

  • As on- site telecommuting work within the buildings and the infrastructure of a foreign company is called. This form of work is practiced for example by external consultants.
  • When working in telecentres workers are engaged in so-called telecentres, which are often located near residential areas. In these telecenters necessary for the work infrastructure (especially fast network connections, fax, etc. ) is provided, the costs of different employers are shared.
  • Tele Villages are settlements in which focus teleworking. The aim of the project carried out in 1994-1995 Austrian Bruck an der Leitha was to investigate the conditions and requirements for setting up a telework center as part of a planned residential development. The report was known under the title Bruck on the line and much respected; but the implementation of the originally very ambitious project ended on a smaller scale in the facility and in the operation of a tele - clubs.

One of the early experiments with telecommuting were the activities of a Swiss bank ( the former SKA ). It employed in 1989 around 65 employees in six so-called " work center " ( telework centers) in Lausanne, Lugano, Basel, Lucerne, Winterthur and train. The balance of the experiment after four years in terms of productivity was positive.

Requirements for employees and employers

Telecommuting provides various demands on all involved. Thus, a suitable workplace must be set up at home with private funds or by the employer. It must also consider the aspects of labor protection and occupational safety and insurance-related problems that result from the various legal provisions, consideration is given.

In addition to the known advantages (eg, less time lost to commuting, better reconciliation of work and family life ) brings teleworking also different strains and dangers. Teleworking may, in particular with deficiencies in health and safety, accompanied burdens on the family, the loss of social, occupational environment or certain rights.

So teleworkers must be willing to communicate more with the other participants and apply the necessary self-discipline to do odd jobs on schedule. Often, the threat of self-exploitation and isolation of teleworkers are called, which must be supported by appropriate measures. The employer, however, must be a results-oriented work positive about and can dispense with the traditional control functions in favor of a stronger trust in its employees. As the only viable management concept in telework applies the management by objectives. Here, the principle of goal setting is the most importance. ( See also: trust-based working time. )

Advantages and disadvantages of this working time model are still controversial in many areas of working life. While according to a 2006 study specified 76 % of the workers to be more productive by teleworking in the office, only 61 % of employers are convinced of the higher productivity.

Employers place to teleworkers cost saving some limitations in the spatial features of the workplace on, for example, the abandonment of a single office, where applicable, in alternating telework. A proportion of telework within the workforce requires, similar to flexible working hours, special arrangements to hold meetings, as an assurance of presence on the part of employees, their reconnected via videoconferencing or their subsequent information by protocols.

Existing policy targets and space structural, cultural and legal framework conditions have a major impact on the prevalence and impact of teleworking. How to perform in the most densely populated areas in the Netherlands, many companies telecommuting and flexible work schedules in order to avoid long travel times and delays caused by traffic congestion in peak hours the staff. Politically telework is encouraged, however, have not specifically used as a political measure to reduce traffic demand.

Motivation and impact

For working women, the motivation for telework is often in the hope of a better reconciliation of work and family life; prevails among men the desire of avoiding long journeys or for a quiet working atmosphere before, with better concentration and less distraction because faults fail by colleagues. Alternating telecommuting employees as an employee perceive telework mostly as a family- friendly and advantageous because it allows adaptation to its own rhythm.

According to results of a study of the network offices Success Factor Family work in half the companies surveyed executives in the near full-time part-time in combination with telework. This is especially true on deputy managers and members of the middle management level, and they practice this model usually for a limited period.

As a result of teleworking results from the telework for men in many cases an increase of free time for sports and leisure activities. Some studies have shown that women with children are often subject to a double burden of work and family; Other studies also suggest in telecommuting workers towards a division of labor on partnership. Men also seem this home through the paid work to improve the relationship with their children.

One of spatial mixing of professional and familial activity is often counteracted by his own study, and this mainly applies to higher-income teleworkers. If necessary, access rules are denied to the study within the family.

A temporal mixing can arise when, for example, professional commitment is postponed to the evening. In particular, in mothers a shift of paid work hours to the early morning, late evening and the weekend is to be observed, with recovery times disappear. Telecommuting brings the risk of hidden extra work and can afford a workaholism feed. The mixing of family and professional interests is seen partly positively by the teleworkers themselves.