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Eurofound contributes to International Archives Day 2020

Eurofound went back to the future in a recent contribution to an online exhibition by the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) in Florence to celebrate International Archives Day which marks the founding of the International Council on Archives (ICA) on 9 June 1948.

For the exhibition, Eurofound’s archivist selected an extract from a proposal in the Agency’s 1982 work programme on the impact of ‘télétravail’ on working and living conditions. It is striking that the areas identified for investigation in the research almost 40 years ago are as relevant today. A journey in the archives was a timely reminder that telework has been a topic of interest for Eurofound for some time now. Its 1995 publication setting out a framework for organisations and workers considering such arrangements includes a chapter ‘Thriving on your own’ with self-care guidelines that are equally applicable to the millions of involuntary teleworkers at home today.

The HAEU is a research centre dedicated to the archival preservation and study of European integration. It is the official archive for the historical documents of the Institutions of the European Union. EU Agencies like Eurofound (established in Dublin, Ireland in 1975) and sister agency Cedefop (established in West Berlin the same year and relocated to Thessalonica, Greece in 1995) also deposit their archives here after 30 years.

Eurofound’s archives ranging in date from 1976 to 1987 have been digitised and are available for online consultation from the HAEU website, upon registration. They consist in the main of papers of the governing bodies (the Board and Bureau) with files from the Director and staff on speeches and events in the first two years of operation, that reveal how the remit of the agency was initially envisaged to extend to environmental factors affecting working and living conditions. The creation of an independent research institute at European level was seen as part of the essential development of social policy in the community, and the involvement of the social partners, alongside the governments and the European Commission in the management board, was a key element of that.

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