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Some will go about it independently. Others will group together around consultancy community sites. In the United States, many sites present the services of self-employed people (accountants, technicians, salespeople ...). Some are simply shop windows, while others offer more advanced functions such as time management.

If you still need to be convinced of the share that the teleworkers will have in the market place, suffice to say that in England there are already more than a million teleworkers (or homeworkers). And by the beginning of the new millennium, there will be tens of millions worldwide able to sell their services in any country, once the small problem of language and social legislation is overcome.

This scenario should be qualified slightly : many office managers have the dream of leaving the city behind for ever and going to live on a tropical island, or in the depths of Provence. We can only talk of such fantasies on condition that the telecommunication networks essential for homeworking are of high quality (preferably high bandwidth) which is only the case in big cities ! For this reason homeworking may concern more city dwellers initially. In addition, regular physical meetings, depending on the work in hand, are still necessary to avoid the sensation of isolation and to check on the work's progress as well as the reliability of the homeworkers.

But the different forms of sub-contracting will also change, because thanks to information technology a company's network will start to interconnect more closely with that of its suppliers. This will have the effect of bringing companies' organisation closer, resulting in less of a customer/supplier relationship and more of a partnership. An employee's closest colleagues are more and more frequently outside the company where he works rather than inside it.

As in the case of software agents, depending on sub-contractors needs to be carefully examined. It would seem to be relevant :

1. When it allows costs to be reduced without compromising the quality demanded by customers : market transparency will force companies to achieve new production targets. Until now, sub-contracting in developing countries has been mostly limited to industry. Now, thanks to computer networks (notably Internet) and the meeting of cultures, it is becoming more common to see French companies sub-contracting services, which sometimes require a high level of qualification, in developing countries.

2. When skills which are not available in the short term within a company are required : specialists are expensive, experts even more so. Competent experts are even more expensive and rare. All good reasons for sub-contracting specific jobs to external consultants or technicians.

3. When there is a sudden and temporary increase in the level of activity : the fast reactions required by today's economy means that it is essential to manage human resources in the short term. Recruitment is becoming faster, and it is sometimes more practical to sub-contract a job for which a full-time post should be created, if there are recruitment difficulties



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If you enjoyed this site, we obviously share values: we have written it in 1999 !

We haven't updated it online as the vision still is more and more relevant: the more the internet matures, the closer it gets to our vision.

We still believe in innovation, creativity, rigour and results control.

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Raphael Richard, founder

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