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Organising telecommuting in an inclusive manner

The Centre for Family Studies is preparing a project 'Organising telecommuting in an inclusive manner' and is looking for partner organisations in Flanders and in Europe. In this preparatory phase, this project is financially supported by the European Social Fund and the Flemish Government. In the period September-December 2020, a final project proposal will be prepared together with partners.
 

Project objectives

There are inequalities between workers in terms of gender, family composition, socio-economic and ethno-cultural diversity in access to and management of telework. This project aims to identify the visible and invisible barriers and develop tools to enable a more inclusive policy on telework. By making teleworking more accessible to employees who experience barriers, their employability will increase. 

>> Can you relate to these objectives and are you motivated to becoming a partner in this project? Please contact Miet Timmers.
 

Project framework and description

The COVID crisis meant a sudden and massive switch to teleworking throughout the world and in a abrupt way made the potential of teleworking much more visible. There are many indications that teleworking will remain a steady trend even after COVID-times. In Flanders, for example, it is regarded as one of the changes in the organisation of work that, during and also after the COVID pandemic, will provide opportunities for workable, healthy and safe working with a continuing focus on a healthy balance between family and work. 

During the lock-down period at the beginning of 2020 it became clear that there were many differences in the way telework was organised and supported by the employer. Some teleworkers, especially in organisations where telework had already been strongly introduced before the crisis, were given all the facilities and support and a high degree of independence and flexibility to carry out their work. Others had to deal with insufficient support, a lack of flexibility and trust from the employer or manager. This often happened in organisations with little experience in the organisation of teleworking.

After all, international research, both before and during corona times, indicates that not everyone has equally convenient access to telework or that the conditions in which telework can be done are not the same. Not only the nature of the job and the digital skills of the employees are relevant; the corporate culture, leadership style and characteristics of the teleworkers themselves such as gender, socio-economic and ethno-cultural background and family composition also have an influence. It is therefore important in this renewed society to re-examine the barriers to accessing telework, identifying both visible and invisible barriers, and to develop tools to reduce these barriers.

>> Read the full project description with references.
 

Research questions

In this study, we want to provide answers to the following questions: 

  1. Which diversity characteristics (gender, socio-economic background, ethno-cultural background) play a role in access to teleworking for professions where this is technically possible?
  2. What are possible strategies to reduce visible and invisible barriers to telework for employees with diversity characteristics?
  3. How can these strategies be translated into a workable instrument?

 

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Miet Timmers

Telefoon: 02/240.68.40
E-mail: miet.timmers@odisee.be
Locatie: Campus Schaarbeek

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