Almost one in five workers in the world's most advanced economies spent at least one business day per month working from home in 2006, according to the report, published ahead of an OECD ministerial meeting on the future of the Internet economy on 17-18 June in Seoul.
These figures represent an increase of 63% compared with 2004, with the link between tele-work and broadband connections now becoming clear.
In the EU, companies equipped with a high-speed internet connection offer tele-work opportunities over twice more than companies without broadband, the report points out.
Tele-working is also considered an important element to tackle excessive traffic in cities. Fewer commuters mean better functioning public transports, less crowded streets and improved urban environment conditions, all outcomes which are in line with the EU targets to curb CO2 emissions and to counter climate change.
However, the OECD report underlines that "there are still barriers to the development of tele-work", in particular inflexible organisational structures and cultures, rules that do not allow for tele-work and lack of infrastructure. In the EU for instance, broadband penetration is on average at 20%, making working from home less likely (EurActiv 19/03/08).
The consequence is that "despite early promises, these services and applications often remain in their infancy", the report says, signaling the insufficient improvements registered in other broadband services with a social value, such as tele-education, e-government or e-health.