Tallinn University of Technology

René Arvola defended his PhD thesis "Telework as a solution for extending worklife" at TalTech Department of Business Administration.

Teleworking has become increasingly popular among people engaged in mental work. This in turn means that employers should pay more attention to the arrangement of telework. Telework is mainly seen as a supplier of flexibility for work environment of employees, which allows them to choose when and where to work.

One of the supervisors of the PhD thesis, Professor of the Department of Business Administration at TalTech School of Business and Governance Piia Tint says, "A set of research methods were employed in the study. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used. Non-probability judgement and convenience sampling techniques were applied for collecting quantitative data, which were analysed with statistical analysis by using linear correlation, ANOVA single factor and t-test. Four surveys were conducted to collect and analyse data on human factors related to telework of various intellectual workers (incl. in the real estate sector and among university staff)."

The guidelines for work arrangements drawn up as a result of the study promote the use of telework as a tool for postponement of retirement of persons engaged in mental work (i.e. retired people continue to work and their worklife is extended). Since telework is more popular among experienced employees, it is important from the perspective of the employers’ interests that they can share their experience with younger colleagues. Therefore, it is essential for the employer to keep up the team spirit, so that the direct face-to-face contact between the employees would not be actually lost due to telework.

The studies carried out in the PhD thesis demonstrated that telework is used intensively and the employers are liberal in regulating telework.

"However, it must be noted that telework is carried out mainly on employee's own initiative and based on the employee’s wisdom without considerable systematic approach. Since the creation of the telework concept, the reasons, reach and consequences of telework have faced changes, being closely related to the exploitation of ICT. Therefore we would like to explore telework-related personal factors in the future. The studies carried out indicate that telework offers economy in commuting time and cost, flexibility, less stressful work environment, better conditions for concentration, and occasionally some relief in health issues. Such a form of work can offer a solution for a problem relating to continuously extending lifespan and be applied as one of the measures for relieving the increasing pressure on the pension system," Professor Tint says.

The supervisors of the doctoral thesis were Associate Professor Emeritus Ülo Kristjuhan and Professor Piia Tint.
The opponents were Pasi Juhani Pyöriä (University of Tampere) and Associate Professor Henrijs Kalkis (Riga Stradiņš University).

The doctoral thesis has been published in the digital collection of TalTech library at: https://digi.lib.ttu.ee/i/?9115

Kersti Vähi, TalTech Research Administration Office