SLC.20.006 – Will post-pandemic teleworking boost the periphery?

Route: Smart, liveable cities

Cluster question: 041 What is the ''inequality problem''?

The pandemic has made teleworking easier by boosting technological improvements, by forcing organizations to allow it, and by providing a forced trial period on employees. Although it does not lead to a complete ‘death of distance’ (Cairncross, 1997; Rietveld & Vickerman, 2004), a post-pandemic increase in working from home is likely, and some speak of an ‘optional office’ (The Economist, 2020). Such an increase will have spatial consequences, as workers will reconsider their commute and thus their residential and working locations. Simply put, working fewer days at the office means fewer days of travelling, and thus a longer travelling distance is sustainable (Mokhtarian et al., 2004; Ravalet & RĂ©rat, 2019), where cheaper, greener, more spacious peripheral locations become attractive.
This benefits the most peripheral regions: in the short run, they gain an influx of much-needed inhabitants, and in the long run these new inhabitants may become embedded workers in the regional economy, through entrepeneurship (startups, spinoffs) or by offering their skills closer to their new home. Moreover, when households move, they more often than not bring two skilled workers instead of just one, and this may be beneficial for the labour market in the periphery already in the short run.
We therefore want to focus on this new migration flow. Does it actually take place? Who are part of this flow? To which places do they move? How quickly do those who migrate become integrated into the regional labour market? Does this lead to new activities and does it thus strengthen the regional economy?


commuting, periphery, regional development, regional migration, teleworking

Other organisations

Wageningen Universities and Research (WUR)


Organisation Utrecht University (UU)
Name Dr. Martijn Smit