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Belgians increasingly ask to work remotely, employers happily comply
Only a minority (5.1%) of Belgian employees want to commute daily and Belgian employers are the most open to teleworking among 10 European countries, according to a recent survey by European HR company SD Worx.
The majority of Belgians prefer to work two or three days from home if the nature of the work allows it.
That places them roughly in the middle when it comes to European attitudes towards teleworking, together with Italians, Germans and Swedes. Spaniards are the most likely to want to work from home, along with Finnish people and the British.
But Belgium scored the highest when it came to employers providing telework options, with 46% of Belgian workers reporting that they had this flexibility.
“There is no point in coming to the office if you have to work alone on a file or answer emails all day,” said Katleen Jacobs of SD Worx, advising companies to be flexible with their office policies and take into account the wishes of employees.
"We are at a turning point. There is no 'one-size-fits-all', as our research shows. Flexibility in terms of working hours, time and method of working is in the 'top five reasons' for choosing an organisation and remaining committed, both for employees and employers.”
Differences in Belgians’ work-from-home preferences
The survey asked 10,000 employees in 10 European countries, including 1,098 Belgians, about their preferences and opinions on working from home.
Results dove into details such as when exactly Belgians prefer to work from home, with the majority choosing Friday as their favourite day, followed by Monday and Wednesday.
Respondents said the advantages outweigh the disadvantages: not only in terms of a better work-life balance (an advantage cited by 79%) but also in terms of increased productivity for individual tasks (66%) and cooperation with others (60%).
More than four in ten Belgians (43%) said the nature of their work allows them to telecommute.
But teleworking was noted to be not without its flaws: 54% of people surveyed said they sometimes experience pressure to be always available, 24% experience more control from their manager, 20% experience more mental health problems and 34% say they miss social contact with colleagues.
“Employers face a challenging puzzle with their teams in ensuring that there is sufficient attention for extra autonomy on the one hand, and connectedness in a team on the other,” Jacobs said.