Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

The future of teleworking: A place-based toolkit for local development


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This project aims to support national, regional and local governments of the OECD in promoting a smooth transition to the likely large-scale and enduring use of teleworking conducive to sustainable social and economic local development. This project takes a neutral stance and aims to inform policy solutions for countries and regions seeking to capitalise on teleworking potential.

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What's the issue?

The pandemic has triggered a mass teleworking experiment, unprecedented in size and scope. The shift towards a large-scale, enduring teleworking model could have strong and long-term implications for the geography of local employment. Different degrees of preparedness to teleworking could widen divides between firm and worker types, as well as between regions.

At the same time, teleworking comes with opportunities, such as reduced congestion in cities and job creation in firms and regions offering attractive teleworking arrangements. Public policies have the potential to minimise disparities, and promote a sustainable transition. 

What can the OECD offer?

National and regional governments can join this project to obtain strategic insights on the actual and potential spread of teleworking across their own country or region. They will gain a deeper understanding of the multiple factors that enable and constrain teleworking across local industries, firms and workers.

Evidence-based recommendations will guide their efforts to ensure that the transition to large-scale teleworking contributes to broader local development goals. Finally, they will benefit from exchanging knowledge and practices with other OECD countries and regions.


Background reading

Exploring policy options on teleworking
Steering local economic and employment development in the time of remote work 
November 2020

Available also in Italian



Assessing teleworking strategies for local development: a framework proposalAssessing teleworking strategies for local development: a framework proposal
October 2022

Participating regions

Trentino, Italy (analysis finalised)

The future of remote work. Opportunities and policy options for Trentino

‌The future of remote work. Opportunities and policy options for Trentino
November 2021

Public policy can play an important role in steering the large-scale diffusion of teleworking. Various communities around the world are experimenting with innovative solutions. In Italy, the Autonomous Province of Trento has plans to design a comprehensive plan for teleworking as a way to foster local economic and social development. Opportunities and challenges for a smooth transition to an ever more hybrid work environment are explored in view of a number of societal objectives, including an improvement in living standards, territorial cohesion and competitiveness. The paper identifies six policy areas for recommendations, reflecting the conditions needed to achieve these objectives. Available also in Italian 

Ems-Achse, Germany (analysis finalised)

Unlocking the potential of teleworking to address labour shortages in the Ems-Achse, Germany
October 2023

In the north-western corner of Germany, the Ems-Achse, a rural region, has witnessed a decade of economic growth. This growth has exacerbated labour shortages, primarily due to an aging population and the outmigration of youth. Acknowledging the potential of teleworking, regional stakeholders aim to explore its capacity to address labour gaps and attract a broader talent pool. This paper delves into three main dimensions for harnessing teleworking's potential: activating individuals who are not currently seeking employment, expanding the talent pool to include surrounding areas, and attracting workers from congested urban areas or overseas. To facilitate successful teleworking, the region can bolster its high-speed internet infrastructure, promote a culture of flexibility in management and nurture digital skills. Additionally, increasing opportunities for higher education, improving public transportation and enhancing international accessibility could help profile the Ems-Achse as an attractive hub for teleworkers. Available also in German | Policy Highlights (in German)



To join the project, please contact [email protected] and [email protected].