Study exploring the social, economic and legal context and trends of telework and the right to disconnect, in the context of digitalisation and the future of work, during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

Over recent decades, the use of information and communication technologies for work has facilitated flexible work arrangements, such as telework, which offer potential benefits to both employees and employers. At the same time, they also pose important risks, particularly in terms of working conditions, workers’ health and safety and work-life balance. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence showed that a sizeable proportion of employees and employers have a preference for hybrid working arrangements, that combine telework with on-site work. In January 2021, the European Parliament adopted a resolution with recommendations to the Commission on the right to disconnect. The resolution called on the Commission to present a legislative proposal on the right to disconnect, as well as an EU legislative framework for telework. Specifically, the resolution highlighted the fundamental role of social partners in identifying and implementing measures addressing the challenges of  digitalisation, telework and the right to disconnect. In light of this policy background, in 2022, the European Commission commissioned this study, as one of the follow-up actions to the European Parliament’s resolution. The objective of the study is to gather evidence and to better understand the challenges, opportunities and trends in relation to the flexibility of working time and work location, with a focus on telework and the right to disconnect.