Remote work and multilocality post-pandemic

Remote work (distansarbete, hjemmearbejde, etätyö, fjarvinna) has become common practice for many Nordic workers during the pandemic. This is expected to have lasting effects, with both workers and companies keen to maintain at least some flexibility in working conditions in the long-term.

What tools and policies are the Nordic countries using to support remote work? And how to support social, environmental and financial sustainability in the regions to create sustainable remote work policies?

Remote work affects many aspects of the society
Anecdotal evidence suggests that this flexibility could result in changes to mobility and migration patterns, for example, reducing commuting, increasing the use of second homes, and boosting the attractiveness of areas outside major cities. What is lacking, however, is concrete data to analyse the implications of these changes for Nordic urban, regional, and rural development. Nordregio’s research seeks to address this knowledge gap by exploring the implications of increased remote work for Nordic cities, regions, and towns.

Nordregio is currently responsible for managing three projects related to this theme, two linked to a joint effort between the three thematic groups established under the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning 2021-2024 and one commissioned by the Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2021.

Summary of the individual projects

(1) City planning impacts of emergent workplace location norms on a city’s attractiveness and competitiveness
“Thematic Group A” Green and Inclusive Urban Development in the Nordics (2021-2024)
Reference group members:
Mathilde Caspersen, Danish Housing and Planning Authority (currently on parental leave, substitute: Nanna Bay Sønderbæk)
Olof Linde, Region Gävleborg
Susanna Slotte-Kock, City of Vaasa

(2) Rural and regional impacts of remote work and multilocality
“Thematic Group B” Green and Inclusive Rural Development in the Nordics (2021-2024) and
“Thematic Group C” Green, Innovative and Resilient Nordic Regions (2021-2024)
Reference group members:
Paula Mikkola (TGB), Nordkalottrådet
Ann-Sofi Backgren (TGB), Smarta landsbygder i Svenskfinland och i Norden
Malin Gumaelius (TGB), Region Östergötland
Hans-Peter Carlson (TGC), MidtSkandia
Elin Groa (TGC), Icelandic Tourist Board
Laura Peuhkuri (TGC), Regional Council of South Karelia

(3) Analysis of multilocality (Finnish Presidency)
Reference group members:
Chair (Finland): Mika Ristamäki, Ministry for Environment
Iceland: Hanna Dora Holm Masdottir, Special Rådgiver i Regonal saker, Transport og kommunalministeriet
Norway: Lisbeth Nylund, KMD  
Denmark: Jeppe Høst, Specialkonsulent
Sweden: Sverker Lindblad, Näringsdepartmentet
Greenland: Morten Hørkild Sten, Academic officer, Government of Greenland

The projects include several activities:

  • Nordic knowledge overview on remote work and multilocality will focus on defining key concepts and understanding how remote work as a form of multilocality is being approached by national policy makers and other relevant (national) actors in each country – Visit publication
  • Quantitative analysis will identify emerging spatial patterns as well as informing an understanding of potential impacts of increased remote work practices for different types of regions and municipalities.
  • Case studies in Nordic cities, regions, and rural areas will provide an in-depth understanding of how these trends are playing out in practice and the strategies policymakers and planners are using to tackle the challenges, make the most of the opportunities, and manage the uncertainty associated with increased remote working. Urban-rural typology development and analysis.
  • Knowledge sharing activities will generate discussion and debate, informing policy recommendations which enable relevant actors to make the most of this trend for Nordic urban, regional, and rural development.

Events:

  • 17 March 2022, ESPON workshop Second homes and increasing multi-locationality during the Covid pandemic
  • 10 May 2022, ARENA TG C talk: Publishing the Nordic Knowledge Overview and debating the policy implications

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