Telework in the 21st Century


Telework in the 21st Century

An Evolutionary Perspective

9781789903744 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Jon C. Messenger, Senior Research Officer, International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland
Publication Date: 2019 ISBN: 978 1 78990 374 4 Extent: 352 pp
This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY 3.0 IGO License. It is free to read, download and share on

Technological developments have enabled a dramatic expansion and also an evolution of telework, broadly defined as using ICTs to perform work from outside of an employer’s premises. This volume offers a new conceptual framework explaining the evolution of telework over four decades. It reviews national experiences from Argentina, Brazil, India, Japan, the United States, and ten EU countries regarding the development of telework, its various forms and effects. It also analyses large-scale surveys and company case studies regarding the incidence of telework and its effects on working time, work-life balance, occupational health and well-being, and individual and organizational performance.

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New information and communications technologies have revolutionized daily life and work in the 21st century. This insightful book demonstrates how telework has evolved in the last four decades, as technological developments have improved our capacity to work remotely.

Based on a new conceptual framework, this book explores the global variations in telework, examining the effects on working conditions and individual and organizational performance. Breaking the traditional intellectual conception that telework is performed only in the home, this book surveys the full breadth of working environments, as technology allows employees increased working mobility. Contributors expose a profound ambiguity surrounding the effects of 21st-century telework, revealing that its advantages and disadvantages may simply be two sides of the same coin.

This timely book is crucial reading for researchers of labour and employment interested in the evolution of contemporary telework and the influence of modern technologies in the workplace. Policy-makers will also benefit from this book’s concrete policy recommendations to improve the practice of telework.
Critical Acclaim
‘This volume explores the development, forms, and effects of telework in countries from different regions around the world, including Argentina, Brazil, ten Member States of the European Union (EU), India, Japan, and the United States. A must read for everyone who wants to understand the different “generations” of telework and its impact on working life, health and safety and productivity.’
– Gerhard Bosch, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany

‘A valuable, long-term and comparative perspective on the continuously developing interface between work and the gradual advance in telecommunications technology that facilitates it to be done anytime, anywhere – in-home, off-site or around the globe. This carefully curated compilation will be useful to researchers, policy-makers, organizations, and anyone trying to keep up the pace of their own knowledge of the various effects of this transformation on well-being and organizations – good, evil or a bit of both – for workers, employers and countries.’
– Lonnie Golden, Penn State University, US
Contributors include: S. Boiarov, P. D’Cruz, A. Dal Colletto, L. Gschwind, T. Harnish, K. Lister, A. Mello, J.C. Messenger, E. Noronha, A. Sato, O. Vargas

Introduction: Telework in the 21st century – an evolutionary
perspective 1
Jon C. Messenger

1. Telework and its effects in Europe 36
Lutz Gschwind and Oscar Vargas
2. Telework and its effects in Japan 76
Akio Sato
3. Telework and its effects in the United States 128
Kate Lister and Tom Harnish

4. Telework and its effects in Argentina 172
Sonia Boiarov
5. Telework and its effects in Brazil 211
Alvaro Mello and Armando Dal Colletto
6. Organization advantage: Experience of telework in India 255
Ernesto Noronha and Premilla D’Cruz
7. Conclusions and recommendations for policy and practice 286
Jon C. Messenger

Index 317
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