Post-pandemic workers

Post-pandemic remote workers in highly industrialized regions.

The lockdowns and social distancing resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly altered habits and lifestyles of global citizens. In particular, the uptake of remote working caused workers to revalue working close to home and the time spent commuting, with semi-peripheral and peripheral neighbourhoods achieving a renewed role in attracting remote workers. 

In this context, the research focuses on changes in forms of remote working taking place in Bologna (second-tier city) and surrounding metropolitan rural areas. Specifically, the case study focuses on the “SmartBo network”, launched in October 2019, through an agreement between Comune di Bologna (Municipality of Bologna), Città Metropolitana di Bologna (Metropolitan City of Bologna) and approximately thirty public and private organisations of the area. At the basis of this initiative there is the belief that remote working as a “new way of working” can contribute to a profound transformation of the world of work and to the sustainable development of Bologna and its surrounding rural areas.

Specifically, this study addresses the repopulation process of the rural areas around Bologna induced by the territorial decentralisation of home offices through the enforcement of remote working arrangements during pandemic lockdowns. An assessment of the remote working phenomenon in Bologna and in its metropolitan area (remote workers number and socio-demographic characteristics, sectors ‘teleworkability, most and least attractive location in metropolitan areas for remote working) will be carried out at municipality level. Specifically, the contribution of the SmartBo initiative will allow to investigate whether specific policy actions can support private and public organization to rethink workplaces and collaborative spaces, thus favouring sustainable mobility patterns and steering a profound transformation of urban structures to design a “city of proximity”.