Research

Council of Europe - Centre of Expertise for Good Governance

How can public authorities best implement teleworking arrangements for civil servants? What are the actual steps public sector organisations should follow in setting up successful teleworking programs? The Council of Europe - Centre of Expertise for Good Governance engaged with us to develop a practical Toolkit to support central, regional and local governments in development up and implementation of teleworking programs.

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The Council of Europe's Centre of Expertise for Good Governance helps European countries deliver good multi-level governance and promotes European standards and best practice in the field. It continuously invests in research and expertise, creates partnerships with national and international actors, develops practical tools and enlarges its offer of programmes by adapting them to the specific needs of the countries.

Background

While teleworking has gained ground primarily in the private sector, public administrations around Europe have also been adopting work-from-home arrangements over the past decades. Already in 2015, more than 83% of public sector entities in the European Union offered their employees flexible working arrangements (New Way of Working in Public Administration, 2018) The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend, with 136 countries globally implementing some form of work-from-home policy for public sector employees (World Bank data, 2020), and 40% of EU workers across all sectors teleworking full time in the spring of 2020. This sudden and imposed shift in working arrangements may not be as temporary as the pandemic which caused it, and European policymakers and experts alike have indicated that flexible working arrangements, including teleworking, may continue.

Given both the particular challenges faced by public sector entities, and the growing financial, human resources and political incentives to allow at least a portion of public employees to work remotely, the Council of Europe Centre of Expertise for Good Governance decided to develop a practical Toolkit to guide national, regional and local governments through this process.

The Toolkit can be used by all levels of public administrations and is designed to support human resources managers, senior management, line managers and trade unions in designing and rolling out teleworking for their employees. The aim of the toolkit is to provide readers with very concrete mechanisms and steps to follow to ensure that the transition from a more traditional way of working to a new way of working is both successful and smooth. Public authorities will find this set of tools useful if they are looking for information on the introduction and implementation of telework in their organisations. In addition, the toolkit includes sections on the key success factors of teleworking, how to evaluate and review telework policies, as well as a number of templates and resources.

What did we do to support the development of the Toolkit on Teleworking in Public Administration?

In the development of the Toolkit, we conducted a thorough literature review of newly published studies and survey results of public sector employers extending or introducing teleworking options to employees. We run a cross-country wide survey, researched and interviewed case examples, and formulated a practical step-by-step guide for any public sector organisation to implement teleworking programs.

To download the Council of Europe Toolkit on Teleworking in Public Administration please visit: https://www.coe.int/en/web/goo...

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