Two-thirds of people in the Netherlands want to continue to work from home
67 percent of people living in the Netherlands would like to continue to work from home two or three days a week after the coronavirus, according to new research.
Many in the Netherlands have learned to love working from home
The study, conducted by the Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB), asked 2.000 people about what they wanted the work environment and culture in the Netherlands to look like after the coronavirus crisis. The ANWB found that only 21 percent of respondents want to return to working full-time in their office.
Most people would instead prefer to work from home more, but this option depends on the outlook of individual employers and how they facilitate working from home. According to the study, the ideal set-up for many working in the Netherlands would be to split the working week between home and the office.
The ANWB is advocating for a society in which working from home on a regular basis is more widely accepted, specifically due to the reduced levels of traffic experienced on Dutch roads throughout the coronavirus crisis. They are targeting employers in an attempt to change the mindset around working from home.
Dutch employers’ federation VNO-NCW has said there are many benefits to working from home - it is more flexible and of course better for the environment - but that there are also issues, namely reduced contact between colleagues, and perhaps more disruptions and distractions when at home.
The future of the working environment
Kees Bakker, spokesperson for VNO-NCW, said that for the immediate future, people will continue to work from home more to combat a second wave of the coronavirus.
But what about in the long term? A spokesperson from the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) said many people are in jobs that do not allow them to work from home, or that some people do not enjoy working from home. So, while the union would like to make working from home a basic right, people must also have the right to not work from home.
In some countries where people have been working from home more, employers have made use of spyware to keep track of their employees, and ensure they are being productive. However, the FNV said they have no evidence that this has also become the norm in the Netherlands.
The costs of working from home
New calculations by the National Institute for Family Finance Information (Nibud) has found that working from home costs the average employee around 2 euros a day, which means anyone working full-time will lose around 40 euros a month.
Nibud attributes these extra costs to electricity, gas, and water bills, as well as additional cups of tea or coffee, and toilet paper. Nibud therefore advises anyone who works from home to discuss opportunities for compensation for these added costs, as employers can reimburse certain costs tax-free via the work-related costs scheme.
The FNV says that, should employees choose to continue to work from home, employers are required to ensure a good working environment, and would have to reimburse energy costs.