Wallonia to boost telework after lockdown
Noticing the highest ever use of teleworking during the coronavirus crisis, Walloon Mobility Minister, Philippe Henry (Ecolo), wants to encourage companies to continue after the lockdown is lifted. A ‘Mobility and Telework’ task force will be set up to identify the different ways to promote and support telework in the administration and the private sector.
“Telework is being experimented on a large scale in conditions that aren’t necessarily optimal. But it proves that it works. Today, 44% of Belgian employees are working from home. Before the coronavirus crisis, it was estimated that 42% of workers had a job that allowed teleworking. If we activate that telework potential, it could represent a 16,5% reduction in kilometers driven at peak hours,” explains Philippe Henry.
The Mobility Minister sees teleworking as the Holy Grail to reduce congestion on Belgian roads. It all makes sense. If some workers stay at home, there will be fewer cars on the road. According to Mr. Henry, a reduction of 25% would totally solve congestion issues and help CO2 emissions go down.
Therefore, now is the time to use the teleworking forced by the crisis as the stepping-stone for a future change of mentality. “It’s worth saying that when this anxiety period is over, not everything will be restarted at the same time. Telework needs to take a more prominent place. The potential is great and it allows us to solve mobility problems,” adds the Minister.
Mobility and telework task force
To promote working from home, Philippe Henry will set up a dedicated task force that should yield results in about six weeks. “This task force will be composed of workers and companies’ representatives as well as mobility and rural actors. Above all, it will have to identify the different ways of supporting telework in administrations and the private sector,” explains the Walloon Minister.
Mr. Henry hopes that out of this crisis will emerge a newfound appreciation for teleworking because, up til now, working from home was sometimes tolerated, sometimes frowned upon, but never really promoted.