As this issue of Futuribles is going to press in late Autumn 2021, several European countries have introduced stricter regulation to cope with an upsurge in the Covid pandemic, and some have reintroduced obligatory teleworking (e.g., Belgium, United Kingdom…). In the longer term, however, with an exit from the pandemic — credibly — in prospect (either through sufficient levels of vaccination or advances in treatment), the question of the use of teleworking represents a major issue for businesses and the economy, for workers (their welfare at work, their mental health etc.), for regions and so on. The questions arise: who is able to telework, in what sectors, to what extent, and with what impact on businesses, the labour force and the (national and international) labour market?
Marc Malenfer explored the subject this autumn for the Futuribles International association and has updated his findings for Futuribles. He offers a number of responses to these questions, but also shows that many issues around teleworking remain unresolved and that very different scenarios are emerging, depending on occupation, geographical area, generation etc. All in all, whatever else eventuates, in many societies the Covid crisis and the way it has accelerated the use of remote working will have represented a major break with past working conditions.