e-Working – the future of work in the Western Region?

More e-Working possible with the National Broadband Plan

One in four broadband users in rural Ireland use the internet at home in relation to their work. That is according to a new WDC Policy Briefing e-Working in the Western Region – A Review of the Evidence, published today.

e-Working means using information and communication technology to work remotely, usually from home, whether full-time or for a period during the working week.

“Statistics on e-working are limited” noted Deirdre Frost, WDC Policy Analyst “but the research does suggest it is very extensive in the Western Region and could be even more important in the future. This is important when thinking about future living and working patterns, which the current National Planning Framework is considering”.

The benefits of greater e-working – compiled from a variety of research sources – even for as little as one day per week, can include:

·        Improved productivity of workers living in rural areas and commuting to jobs in urban areas (estimated at €1,342 per worker per annum).

·        Individual households benefitting from journey time and fuel cost savings (estimated at €89.00 per household per annum).

·        Reduced transport demand, improving congestion and lowering transport emissions – important benefits for climate change mitigation.

·        Better employee work-life balance.

The WDC Policy Briefing looks at e-working in the Western Region and includes case studies from companies and individuals showing how e-work operates in practice.

Deirdre Frost, WDC Policy Analyst noted “While there is demand for greater e-working, broadband speeds need to be improved.  The WDC Policy Briefing notes that according to a study by Vodafone a quarter of those who work from home – or nearly 100,000 adults – say their current broadband service is not sufficient to meet their requirements for e-working, and that it limits the work related activities they can do from home”.

The WDC Policy Briefing recommends the following to increase e-working:

·        Rollout under the National Broadband Plan should start in counties with the lowest broadband speeds, for example, Mayo, Leitrim and Roscommon.

·        Employers’ bodies should highlight best practice and help create a greater awareness of the rights, regulations and responsibilities of e-workers.

·        Government needs to prioritise e-work as a policy objective with co-ordinated action and targets, recognising the benefits it can bring including climate change mitigation and employee well-being.

For further information please contact:

Deirdre Frost, Western Development Commission, 094 986 1441 or 086 605 3317

The full report is available at

http://www.wdc.ie/wp-content/uploads/WDC_Policy-Briefing-no-7.pdf

 

Note on WDC Policy Briefings:

This Policy Briefing ‘e-Working in the Western Region- A Review of the Evidence’ is the seventh in a series of WDC Policy Briefings to highlight and provide discussion and analysis of key regional policy issues. It is an objective statistical resource for people and organisations who are interested in the Western Region’s future.