The rapid development of information and telecommunications technology has resulted in many changes in the organisation of work, communication, science as well as the emergence of new professions. More and more often "remote working" or "teleworking" is being introduced in organisations. Remote working refers to performing work outside the organisation's location and delivering the results of work via the Internet or by means of other techniques.
There are four types of teleworking:
- Home-based work
- Combined work (part of the tasks are performed at home, part in the organisation), mobile work (performed in the field).
- Telecentre (performing work in a specially designed place, outside the organisation but close to the place of residence).
- Overseas work (performing work in different parts of the world).
The first two ways of undertaking work remotely are most often used. This allows organisations to reduce production and service costs, as well as ensure continuity of work and safety of employees (for example, fewer accidents on the way to and from work or greater protection from COVID-19). This way of working can also be beneficial for the employee. It enables greater flexibility of working time, creating more convenient conditions for improving performance, saving time and money spent on commuting to the workplace, integrating professional and non-professional duties.
Unfortunately, teleworking also carries some risks. Working from home limits direct contact with co-workers and superiors, which makes communication more difficult and limits the possibility of getting help completing difficult tasks. It is not always possible to create appropriate technical and ergonomic conditions for work (having the right equipment, IT tools, appropriate furniture, and lighting to work with a computer). If the work environment is shared, for example with family members (e.g., children and other care-dependent persons, a partner doing remote work), it may hinder concentration, motivation and ability to work, and may sometimes cause family conflicts. Working from home sometimes blurs the line between work and private life, which can lead to feeling constantly at work. As a result, remote work can become a source of mental and physical stress. Consequently, we may feel pain in our spine or shoulders, headaches, painful and burning eyes as a result of inappropriate working conditions, annoyance (tension), exhaustion and a sense of loneliness, and become less effective at completing our work.
The good news is that most remote working problems can be dealt with. This applies both to the way it is carried out and reducing the adverse effects.
The EMPOWER project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 848180