Only one in five Belgians do teleworking
One in five Belgians (22%) has ever done teleworking, according to a survey by traffic safety institute, Vias, and the FPS, Mobility and Transport. It could be even more since almost half of them say they have a job that could be considered for teleworking. Why then does teleworking not become more common in Belgium? Half of the employers in Belgium forbid their employees to work from home.
Good for productivity
Of the 1.000 people surveyed, four out of ten telework one day a week on average. A third of them do it sporadically, and two out of ten telework two days a week. Especially those who live far from work and have to drive longer than half an hour to their workplace do telework. Or: the further people live from work, the more they do telework.
Working from home, however, is still not a common practice in Belgium, although it brings many advantages. Not only does it reduce traffic jams (for 49% of the teleworkers, the car is their primary means of transport to work), but it is also good for the climate, work-life balance, and productivity.
Sense of control
Despite that, one Belgian boss out of two forbids homeworking. In the case of large companies, the figure is 58%; in the case of SMEs the number is lower (53%).”Employers who prohibit homeworking do so in the first place because they want to maintain a sense of control,” says Kris De Meester of the VBO employer’s organization. “But sometimes employees mistakenly think that teleworking is possible. Employers also look at the collective. The loss of physical cooperation is not always desirable.”
Room for growth
For shop assistants, nurses or fire-fighters it is, of course, impossible to work from home. They also benefit from the system. “The majority of the teleworkers come by car and live quite far from work,” says Stef Willems of Vias. “Those who are unable to telework, therefore, benefit from it when others do. That way, they lose less time in traffic jams.”
Wondering if you will feel the difference on the Belgian roads: today is National Telework Day. The day was created to encourage employers and employees to work differently and to promote teleworking as one of the levers for better mobility because there is still a lot of room for growth, according to the organizers.
Brussels, Limburg, and Luxembourg can do better
Of those working in the Brussels-Capital Region, for example, 40% are currently engaged in teleworking. 68% of employees in Brussels say they have a job that might be eligible for teleworking. So, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
The Belgian provinces where teleworking is currently the least widespread are Limburg and Luxembourg. Only 8% of the employees in these provinces do telework. But there too, the potential is much higher. In Limburg, 34% could telework with their job. In Luxembourg, this is 23%.
More information can be found on www.nationaletelewerkdag.be and www.telewerken.be.