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European Charter for Telework


DIPLOMAT is a consensus building initiative designed to support and enable Europe to better adopt, implement and benefit from increases in information technology enhanced distributed working. The initiative is creating The European Charter for Telework signed by influential organisations and employers throughout Europe in order to promote telework in their constituencies. The ultimate result will be the first pan-European agreement on telework guidelines.
In detail this is meant:
to win consensus on socially attractive and economically efficient new patterns of work
to win the support of key European organisations for a comprehensive European Charter for Telework
to raise the awareness of the benefits of advanced communications technology and new working methods
to accelerate the adoption and use of ACTS technologies in the workplace and in society
to monitor telework practices and implementation amongst signatories
to propose and develop European Guidelines as an instrument to orchestrate the processes of implementation and concertation on the basis of consensus built under the auspices of the relevant constituency
Based on the framework of the MoU, DIPLOMAT will involve a minimum of 400 organisations, with a great number of dependent, subsidiary and member organisations, in consensus development and discussion processes on the Charter and Guidelines. It will result in a generic Charter, signed by representatives of employers' organisations, labour unions, professional bodies, SME associations, government departments and European institutions. These high level signatures will back what will be collectively developed: a decisive proposal for European Guidelines, pledged to accelerate telework and information society systems use to the best of all concerned.
Calendar of events:
September 96 Charter Symposium
January 97 Formation and start up of Consensus Groups to continue during the lifetime of the project
April 97 Draft Guidelines
May 97 Survey 1: Measuring telework uptake
July 97 1st year report of the Consensus Groups: Guidelines agreed
September 97 4th European Assembly on Telework and New Ways of Working, Stockholm: Signatories' Meeting and establishing Telework Guidelines Forum
October 97 Survey 2: Measuring telework uptake
February 98 Employment and economic impact report, issue Guidelines to date
March 98 Survey 3: Measuring telework uptake
July 98 Survey 4: Measuring telework uptake, deliver signed Charter to EC
September 98 Final report and Guidelines update
Expected Impact
Since high level executives of influential European organisations commit themselves by signing the Charter to help develop pro-active European Guidelines, DIPLOMAT stimulates widely acceptable adoption of new ways of working and promotes the application of advanced communication technologies within organisations relevant to employment and sustainable development of the various sectors of the European economy.
Increased teleworking in organisations
Extended appreciation and assessment of teleworking in organisations
Interested representatives of companies, institutions and interest groups participate in designing pro-active Guidelines for Europe
Continuous collaboration in working groups
Availability of a pan-European knowledge-base on telework
Establishment of a market intelligence system continued for many years in the future
Request for Contributions
ACTS projects are asked to contribute to building the Directories of appropriate organisations and relevant potential signatories and champions, by sending names and addresses; with a profile of existing use of telework and technologies.
Technology and Systems
ACTS projects are asked to send a brief technical and layman's description of the technology they are producing and to say how, in their view, it might be applied by organisations in the seven domain themes, above.
Charter and Guidelines contents
ACTS projects are asked to contribute ideas for the Charter and Guidelines contents.
Implementation Questionnaires
ACTS projects are asked to suggest items for the questionnaires and their analysis, to track increases in telework and use of technologies.
Technical Approach
DIPLOMAT addresses Government Departments, Professional Institutes, Employers Organisations, Unions, Business Associations and other bodies - characterised by having direct or indirect influence over many dependent, subsidiary and member organisations. After building Directories of organisations, of potential signatories and identifying Telework Champions, their cooperation is organised in Consensus Groups which are framed by the themes of a Memorandum of Understanding - forming together the Telework Guidelines Forum.
Thematical Areas:
Political Perspectives
Labour Relations and Social Innovation
Taxation, Social Security Payments and Systems
Telework for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development
Telework and the Stimulation of Small Businesses
Education and Training for Telework
Intellectual Property, Copyright, Design Rights and Ownership of Electronic Materials
Guidelines regarding these thematical areas are drafted and discussions within the Consensus Groups started from January 1997. A DIPLOMAT Partner with experience and skills in a theme is engaging the organisations in their domain and working with them to reach a consensus on detailed proposals for Guidelines.
To assist this process DIPLOMAT is creating an up to date and comprehensive data-base of facts from half-yearly Implementation Questionnaires charting increased telework and ACTS technology take-up in the constituent organisations across Europe. From this research and ongoing surveys DIPLOMAT will produce a final Employment and Economic Impact Report.
DIPLOMAT works closely with other ACTS projects, particularly ETD. This project will continue impact surveys after the life-time of DIPLOMAT in Dec 98 and Jun 99, to enforce market intelligence gathering.
Cross-thematic matters will be addressed, including trans-border matters, data on worker migration and the import and export of work. Comparisons will be drawn with US and Pacific Rim countries, concerning:
Import and Export of Work
Human & Technological Resources
Teleworkable Tasks & Occupations
Urban and Rural Impacts and Traffic Flows
Societal and Family implications
Impact on Property Uses and Values
Teleworking in Key Organisations
Future Technology - Hype and Reality
Electronic Commerce
The 51 DIPLOMAT participants represent in themselves a virtual team of organisations promoting IT enhanced distributed work throughout the EU, the European Economic Area, and in Central and Eastern Europe. Participants are (1) Partners or Theme Coordinators, liaising with the signatories, (2) Regional Coordinators in 16 countries (the 15 Member States plus EEA), acting as translators and conduits to regional organisations, and (3) Expert Advisers, researchers providing further knowledge resources to all Partners.
Summary of Trial
The work of this project is such that in a technical sense no practical experimentation is foreseen. However, implementation of teleworking pilots and tests of recommendations put forward by Telework Champions will be stimulated by this project, thus allowing certain field trials.
Key Issues
DIPLOMAT researches existing protocols, drafts the Charter, MoU and Guidelines. All these drafts, research and survey results are being circulated to the constituents by telecommunication technologies, in virtual and real meetings, seminars and workshops. In the course of these procedures officers and chief executives are identified to sign the Charter or one of the MoUs, and engage in discussing and applying the Guidelines in the course of telework implementation.

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Universitaet fuer Bodenkultur/BOKU
EU contribution
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Hettenkofergasse 13/45
1160 Vienna

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Participants (7)