Réseau d'Activités à Distance


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Telework and job-hunting

* Abstract

A job-hunter's activity has much to do with teleworking and, more broadly speaking, with the way modern enterprises tend to organize their work.

* 1. Telework

Teleworking requires autonomy and an ability to overcome a possible feeling of solitude. Other similarities can be found and organized.


Without bosses or colleagues, a teleworker must find motivation within himself and his own environment. No more subject to conformism, he can set his own rules.


Commercial agents and nomad executives are better prepared than sedentary workers who fear being marginalized. Electronic mail within a network should allow a teleworker to "keep-in-touch". Intranet communications is already a matter of fact in many companies.


For companies, telework means better use of time and space. For a teleworker, organizing it is a must and becomes therefore an asset.


To work at home is to work on a computer. A teleworker needs to be at ease with his hardware and software.

* 2. Job-hunting

Outplacement counsellers consider job-hunting as a fulltime commercial activity.


First and foremost, a job-hunter must do a thorough personal and professional check-up: to recall experiences, motivations, frustrations... and provide himself with all necessary materials before job-hunting. A long but indispensable step.


Counsellors insist that such a check-up be done in writing. From a necessary emotional stage it will gradually evolve towards a final document.


A job-hunter is mobile. Gathering information, taking courses, meeting people, keeping appointments...


Being mobile implies ways to keep in touch and be reached. Answering machines, fax machines, post and electronic mail, cybercafés... provide multiple ways of communication.


A Network attitude should be encouraged for the job-hunter to be neither lonely, staggerring or obsolete. Laptops, dictaphones, organizers... allow him to take notes, maintain files, organize time... even while commuting. He will exchange information with family, friends and colleagues, exchange tips, give and receive encouragement. A modem would allow him to do it even from afar.

* 3. Give a meaning

A job-seeker is often perceived as excluded, a loner. Yet, many of those who survive restructuration loose their motivation nevertheless. Top executives are having doubts (Le Monde). In 1992, Synthesis realized a turn-over of 1, 4MF by "answering in a philosophical way companies' self doubts".


A job provides occupation and ameans of living. Loosing both makes you a job-seeker, not excluded. Loosing your bearings makes you a nomad not an errant. But nomads can belong to a community.


Both tele-workers and job-seekers must face distance, solitude, organization, autonomy... Overcoming these difficulties will put them at an advantage in tomorrow's job market. By taking up the challenge, they find a meaning to their activity. Companies will buy this at high value.

* 4. Who can help?

In drawing the parallel between teleworkers and job-hunters, we momentarily set aside a most important point: "There is no such thing as an employment problem, there only is a problem of income" (Renaud Camus, Le Monde, 31-05-95). If they cannot offer the meaning, companies can provide the means, in materials, structures and institutions. A few suggestions:

4.1 Companies

Writing The virtues of 'writing' are largely underestimated in industry. Much information, experience and know-how is thus wasted. The habit of writing things down should be encouraged (Papeteries de Golbey).


Companies and workers can open up to the outside world and technology by tele-training.


Co-operative work within a company improves productivity. It also prepares to tele-work.


Work should be estimated in terms of results instead of time. Goal-setting fosters autonomy and prepares to tele-work.

4.2 Research

Group-work technology exists (sharing-data softwares...) but a group-worker's attitude towards his computer and software should be scientifically investigated (Françoise Darses/CNAM). Specific crafts should be modelized (Sophie Delouis/INSA Lyon) to create specific softwares.

4.3 Outplacement Firms


Outplacement firms should provide job-hunters with the necessary equipment and train them to modern ways of communication.


A systematic groupware-attitude should be encouraged. It would save time for all and give appropriate training.

4.4 Insurance Companies

While diversifying their services, large insurance companies taking advantage of modern ways of communication can be trend-setters.

4.5 Manufacturers

Some manufacturers prepare tomorrow's personal computers (Apple, Oracle). The low-priced Net Computer & Internet combination is a good exemple.

4.6 Access-providers

Access-providers to Internet or public networks could develop and offer specific services for the job-seekers.

4.7 Training centers

For many job-hunters, subsidized training is a last hope. Training centers can teach basic computer-skills and inventive courses to dynamise a job research. The virtual firm created by the 'Maison des Formations de Roanne' constitutes an interesting experience by simulating in real scale a multi-site company. From as far as 50 Km away, trainees learn the ways and means of tele-working. Local economic partners take part in the experience. Tele-training experiences are also undertaken where teacher and trainees communicate via Internet.

4.8 Municipalities

In rural areas, job-seekers and municipalities who fear depopulation can benefit from 'tele-centers' or 'proximity-offices'. Such centers provide the equipment and tools needed by the job-seekers while setting the base for future tele-activities and telework. Jointly with their peers and administrative authorities, civil servants can set up and give access to regional networks and better assist their constituents in their job-search. This is also a way to turn unemployment funds from passive expenses (assistance) into productive investments.

* 5 Conclusion

This quick survey of new technologies and new ways of organizing labor show that job-hunting is very much a tele-working activity which could eventually lead to a real 'tele-job'.

Hubert Houdoy


Translated by:

Philippe Houdoy

on 04-09-96

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Mise à jour: 16/07/2003