Smart Work Centres in Non-metropolitan Areas

Europe is characterized by the high attractiveness of cities, migration from rural settlements and depopulation. Much of the rural population commutes between their residence and workplace, which is costly, pollutes the environment and results in the local residents not taking an active part in the life of the local community.
The MICROPOL project aims to facilitate the development of rural areas through the promotion and establishment of so-called ‘Smart Work Centers‘ (SWCs). The purpose of these ‘Smart Work Centers‘ is to keep rural labour, strengthen the local economy and maintain the work/life balance.
The representatives of the 10 countries participating in the project sought answers as to where and how such facilities work in rural small settlements and small towns. During the three years, we managed to collect 25 good practices on this subject. They are based on different ideas, target different groups, and they are also vary in type regarding funding.
Surveying good practices, we got to know community workspaces where employees of larger companies, sole proprietors, workers of the creative industry, small and medium-sized enterprises rent workstations or offices. These facilities provide a common infrastructure, such as meeting rooms, conference rooms, training rooms, office machinery, equipment, reception, community areas, possibly common administration, business support.
The advantages of "smart work centers":
• for large enterprises: reducing costs (travel and operational expenses) increased availability of quality workforce, reducing pollution
• for distance workers: quality labor in rural areas, decreased commuting, (time saving, cost reduction, improvement of work/life balance, community relations, you do not have to give up the higher quality of rural life for working in the city), advantages vs. working at home (social relations, becoming part of a working community)
• for rural communities: reducing migration, community building, reducing environmental damage through reducing commuting, generate revenue for the local economy, increasing the quality of life in rural areas.

Brief summary


Lead partner: North Denmark Region (DK)


  1. Province of Drenthe (NL)
  2. West-Pannon Nonprofit Ltd (HU)
  3. Business Support Centre (SLO)
  4. Northumberland County Council (UK)
  5. Municipality of Teramo (IT)
  6. Public Fundation for the Development of Industry (HU)
  7. Riga Technical University (LV)
  8. Niverlan (FR)
  9. Estonian Advice Centres (EE)
  10. Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Jaen (ES)


Available materials:

The description of the 25 good practices we collected during the project, a summary report on the results of the project. We have prepared a matrix introducing the different types of "smart work centers" and a comprehensive business plan template for those who are thinking about establishing and running rural telework centers. We have also made 10 policy recommendations for political decision makers of regional and national level containing the necessary measures for making rural distance work more popular. Based on the experiences gained during the project, we have prepared an implementation plan designed for the Western Transdanubian region, which includes measures required for the next 3 years in order to recover and sustain the results.

During the project it became clear that the French good practice, the telework center of Murat fits the Hungarian conditions the most. Therefore, under the project a good practice transfer proposal was prepared, through which the trainings developed by the French center for distance workers, managers and rural developers could be used in the long run.


Facts and figures

Funding program: INTERREG IVC

Lead partner: North Denmark Region (DK)

Project duration: 1. January 2012 – 31. December 2014

ERDF funding: 1 891 598 EUR

Budget of the West Pannon Ltd.: 123 588 EUR