Workspace Planning, a Question of Teleworking Sustainable Development

Workspace Planning, a Question of Teleworking Sustainable Development


S.Mathon, CETE Nord Picardie, FR


The subject of this article is planning and transport policies as conditions for a massive development of teleworking. Teleworking means working away from the usual work place using new technologies (computers, mobile phones, video conference … ).


Save for nomadic working habits or home working, teleworking using other workspaces than the usual daily work place is not very developed in France. Today estimated to 7% of working practices in France, studies show that teleworking could reach more than 30%, based on jobs structures analysis.
Companies and their employees could take advantage of this potential of growth by establishing two kinds of teleworking practices:
– « regular » teleworking, once or twice a week away from the usual work place,
– « adaptative » teleworking, as a way to deal with exceptional events : transport disruptions, climatic or health events (ex : epidemic) or temporary inability for a person to travel long distances.

The growing flexibility of workforce and raising costs of office real estate are parts of the economic context contributing to thoughts about workspace planning. Commuting time and costs, as well as accessibility issues to work places, show the limits of traditional work places planning. Finally, as new technologies have widely spread among households and companies (computers, video conference equipment, mobile phones… ) and are quickly adopted by young workers (even by older ones), the next decades will offer opportunities for the development of teleworking.

Within the framework research plan of the PREDIT entitled EFFETS, a research's team under the scientific coordination of THEMA's laboratory suggest to estimate the growth potential of teleworking and to evaluate its impact, particularly on CO2 emission.

CETE Nord Picardie is in charge of showing how public policies could be involved in establishing preliminary conditions for the massive development of teleworking practices by economic actors. The preliminary hypothesis for this study is the development of teleworking belongs to mobility and planning policies since it has influence on both mobility and business location logic.

This article intends to estimate the potential for teleworking from another point of view than jobs and activities.

The purpose is to give a description of the teleworking spaces market on a given territory. Companies and public services will have a global view to be able to organize teleworking. The metropolitan area of Lille is used as a test area for this study. We aim to estimate the number of workers having a remote work place less than 15 minutes away by foot or by bicycle from their home.

Three types of potential teleworking places are identified :
1- premises open to the public and equipped with WI-FI (e.g. : hotel, restaurants, train stations, gas stations… ). These places fit well with « nomadic » work,
2- office spaces rent to companies by service providers (e.g. : teleworking centres, per day workspace renting … ).
3- premises owned by companies or public services and available to their employees: this will illustrate the possibility of using remote offices within the premises of a same company (teleworking in network or using satellite offices). The real estate of french national public services in the Lille metropolitan will be used as an example for this study.

All these work places have been mapped. A first analysis allows to characterize the territory's coverage : do all the sectors have the same level of equipment ? Or are some of them lacking teleworking facilities? These first data allow us to point out territories where an action from public services could support the building of teleworking spaces (ex : teleworking centers).

A second analysis will allow us to estimate the number of accommodation and workers having teleworking facilities less than 15 minutes away from their home by foot, by bike or using public transportation.

Local authorities goal is that remote work spaces would be accessible without using personal cars, in compliance with mobility policies which aim to reduce the use of personal car for commuting.

From this cartography, CETE Nord Picardie has produced a territorial analysis allowing to cross the number of flats with the rate of workers having at disposal one or several among the network of remote working facilities available in the metropolitan area of Lille. This analysis also allows to identify sectors scarcely served by this network and for which, a public action could support the creation of a specific equipment, like a « teleworking or co-working center ».

Among the practical applications suggested by CETE Nord Picardie, the mapping of remote work spaces could be added to the information put on line by Public transportation authorities completing the information relative to teleworking places and to their service's conditions.


Association for European Transport