A (very) practical guide to supporting rural areas

Fabienne Proux / JGPmedia for Localtis

Faced with the increase in remote work in rural and peri-urban areas since the beginning of the pandemic, they must face new challenges, particularly digital, financial and mobility. To help them support the development of remote work in accordance with their regional specificities, the National Association of Poles and Countries of Regions (ANPP – Project Regions) has issued a (very) practical guide.

While 85% of the regions surveyed by the ANPP – Project Territories consider the rise of teleworking as an opportunity for local development, supporting project areas and rural communities in developing a teleworking development strategy is gaining its full significance. Especially if more than 80% of respondents have identified at least a third on their land, more than half of them are managed by public actors and more than a third comes from public-private partnerships. “So it appears that the creation of third places is a distinctive way for the communities and project territories to contribute to the development of remote work,” agrees NAEA – Project Areas. It is still necessary to know how to make the most of this new way of working, even to live, and above all to support it (technically and financially) so that it is sustainable.

Support for elected officials and technicians

To do this, as part of the Opter Télétravail program (Opportunity for Rural Lands: Teleworking) launched in 2021, the ANPP – Project Regions has created the “Practical Guide: Methods to Support the Development of Telework in Regions”. After the webinar “Remote work, new dynamics of installation and reception in the regions?” On Thursday, June 23, 2022, it presents itself as a “personal and interactive support tool for communities” and has two main objectives: to highlight issues related to remote work in rural and semi-urban areas; Support elected officials and technicians in the process of supporting this opportunity. “We thought of this guide as a tool in which the user is represented and explores in ad hoc ways the regional issues raised by the development of remote work,” the stakeholders emphasized.

Self-assessment and remote work compass

In particular, this guide includes the survey conducted in the early stages to target the challenges posed by the development of remote work in the regions and suggests a methodology to best customize the strategy. This provides for users to answer a self-assessment questionnaire of their level of progress in developing remote work. Then they “put themselves” on the compass of working remotely in order to target the strengths and weaknesses of the region and identify the possibilities for development. Depending on the results, the user can target the most important issues in their region among the eight topics referred to in the guide (business conditions; digital; third places; regional marketing; mobility; habitat; finance; and legal framework) and being the subject of papers containing evidence and recommendations. and good practices in the form of examples of work that have been implemented in a few communities and countries.

Remote work and environmental protection

For example, as part of the Positive Energy for Green Growth Territory, PETR in Briançonnais des Écrins, Guillestrois and Queyras (Hautes-Alpes) developed, in 2017, a guide to support the implementation of remote work for local authorities. In 2018, the commune Seine et Aube (Aube) acquired a former relay factory to convert it into a multifunctional space to provide services to the residents. The cooperative space, which opened in 2021, provides “favorable” conditions for the practice of remote work. Or, the community of Vendée Sèvres Autise municipalities has included remote work within the challenges of the Regional Climate Climate Energy Scheme (PCAET) and thus encouraged the creation of third spaces and co-working spaces, which will provide catering in order to reduce trips to lunch break to reduce car travel .

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