Teleworking booms in Europe

There are now twice as many teleworkers in Europe than there were three years ago, but the EU still lags behind the US

The number of teleworkers in Europe has doubled in the past three years to 20 million, according to a new survey published by the Bonn Empirica society for communication and technology research. Across the EU, more than one in ten employed people telework more than one day a week, but only 2 percent of all employed people in the EU telework from home every day. Germany comes out top of the league with the number of occasional teleworkers there trebling from two million in 1999 to six million today. The enormous rise of the numbers of teleworking is not due to typical domestic teleworking, says the report, but instead is due to independent staff in small businesses and office workers taking work home. According to researcher Norbert Kordey, the upsurge of teleworking has been greatly helped by the increased penetration of Internet connections, increased acceptance of email and increased availability of cheaper notebooks. Other factors include changes in working habits that have made flexible work time more acceptable. Europe still lags behind the US, according to the researchers, who surveyed 11,800 people across all European Union member states, Switzerland and the USA. As a percentage of the population, the number of people teleworking is approximately twice as high in the US as it is across the EU. But the EU is catching up. After Germany, Great Britain has also experienced a high growth rate in the number of people teleworking. Italy and Ireland are said to be not far behind and France, Spain, Luxembourg and Portugal come last as those countries with the lowest number of people per head of population teleworking.

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