Webinar The Reality of Teleworking: People, Firms, Places
Open to all and free to attend, this webinar series aims to bring experts in the field of regional studies, science and policy to you. The webinar can be watched live but will also available on demand. The webinars will run live once a month and feature researcher and policymaker experts. They include time for discussion, questions and comments.
Past webinars will be available on-demand to RSA members.
We welcome new members to the RSA. More information on membership benefits and how to join the Association can be found at www.regionalstudies.org/about/memberships/
OECD Spatial Productivity Lab in Collaboration with the Regional Studies Association
The Reality of Teleworking: People, Firms, Places, 3rd September 2020, 15.30 (CEST) 14.30 (BST) – 17.00 (CEST) 16.00 (BST)
Dr Matteo Sostero, Economist, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
Dr Darja Reuschke, Associate Professor in Human Geography, University of Southampton, UK
Professor Patricia Mokhtarian, Susan G. and Christopher D. Pappas Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Mattia Corbetta, Policy Analyst, OECD Trento Centre for Local Development, Italy
Chair: John Harrison, Reader in Human Geography, Loughborough University, UK
Matteo Sostero is a researcher at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission in Seville. He holds a Ph.D in Economics from the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy. His research interests are in labour economics, especially the impact of technology on jobs and working conditions, as well as data science and data visualisation.
Telework in the EU before and after Covid-19: Where we were and where we head to
In 2019, only about one in twenty people employed in the EU-27 usually worked from home – a share that remained constant since 2009. The confinement measures during the Covid-19 pandemic changed all this, out of necessity. Although a rapid transition to telework created challenges, it also contributed to lowering barriers to telework related to organisation of work and organisational hierarchy. Looking forward, we estimate that 37% of EU employees can technically telework but there is a risk that the divide between those who can telework and those who cannot fuels existing inequalities along a number of dimensions.
Darja Reuschke is Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Southampton. Her research focuses on homeworking, home-based businesses and self-employment.
Homeworking and its effect on productivity and wellbeing
A traditional fear of employers is that without physical oversight, workers will shirk and productivity will fall. This proposition is examined using a large Covid-19 Survey in the United Kingdom that asked respondents who were working at home in June 2020 how their productivity had changed compared to before lockdown and whether they would like to continue working from home in the future. The mental wellbeing of those who newly worked from home or were established homeworkers are compared with those who never worked from home either side of the lockdown. Findings will be presented that suggest that allowing employees to work at home if they want to, may increase not reduce productivity, hence supporting the business case for the continuation of homeworking. A massive return to pre-Covid-19 patterns of working is therefore unlikely to happen.
Patricia Mokhtarian is the Susan G. and Christopher D. Pappas Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She joined Georgia Tech in 2013, after 23 years at the University of California, Davis. Before that, she spent nine years in regional planning and consulting in Southern California, after completing her PhD at Northwestern University. Dr. Mokhtarian has specialized in the application of rigorous quantitative methods to the study of travel behavior for more than 40 years, and a key research interest has been the impact of telecommunications technology on travel behavior. She has authored or co-authored more than 200 refereed journal articles, technical reports, and other publications, including more than 40 peer-reviewed articles relating to teleworking. She is a recent Past Chair of the International Association for Travel Behaviour Research, and serves on the editorial boards of nine transportation journals.
Teleworking and mobility: What do we (think we) know and not know?
The transportation-related impacts of teleworking have been studied for several decades, but there is still much to learn, especially as the nature and extent of teleworking continue to evolve with new technologies and social trends. This intervention will briefly review our state of knowledge, including its gaps, in this realm of inquiry.
Mattia Corbetta is a Policy Analyst at the OECD Trento Centre for Local Development. Between 2012 and 2019 he worked as a Policy Adviser at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, where he contributed to designing the Italian Startup Act, the National Plan on Industry 4.0 and other policies on digital and inclusive entrepreneurship. In the past, he worked at the Italian Chambers of Commerce in Switzerland and Morocco, at the Italian Embassy in Syria and at the UN Volunteers program in Germany. He graduated in International Relations at LUISS Guido Carli, Rome, gained a MA in Business & Trade in MENA at the University of Perugia and a MA in Contemporary History at the University of Bologna.
Exploring policy options on teleworking
The current crisis represents, among other things, a mass experiment in teleworking, unprecedented in size and spread. A shift towards large-scale, long-standing teleworking would have profound implications for workers, managers and their employers as well as for the geography of local economic and employment development. Public policy can play a key role in turning teleworking into an opportunity for all, ensuring that the transformation currently underway does not exacerbate pre-existing disparities between people, places and firms. The presentation will discuss common policy options adopted by national, regional and local governments during or before the Covid-19 pandemic to enable, encourage and make the most of teleworking, as well as to foster the attraction and retention of digital and remote workers and entrepreneurs.
John works at Loughborough University in the UK. He is a regional geographer interested in the planning and governance of cities and regions in globalisation. John has been an Editor of Regional Studies since 2013, first as its inaugural Early Career Editor and then section editor for ‘Urban and Regional Horizons’.
His recent publications include the Handbook on the Geographies of Regions and Territories (with Anssi Paasi and Martin Jones), Doing Global Urban Research (with Michael Hoyler) and Metropolitan Regions, Planning and Governance (with Karsten Zimmermann and Daniel Galland), and he is currently co-editing a forthcoming special issue of Regional Studies on Planning Regional Futures (with Mark Tewdwr-Jones and Daniel Galland).