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  • Writer's pictureJoost van Ladesteijn

Status update Letter on Hybrid Working

A detailed summary of a ministerial letter about hybrid working in the Netherlands, highlighting the positive aspects and challenges of hybrid work environments.

On March 28, 2024, a letter from the responsible minister on the above subject was sent to the Dutch House of Representatives.

The minister is enthusiastic about hybrid working in the letter, stating, "Hybrid working provides a solution for many employers and employees" and that it is "here to stay". The 12-page letter does not discuss any potentially opposing trends such as employers’ requests to return to the office.

Readers should note that:

  • More than half of the workforce does not engage in hybrid working (55%);

  • Those who work from home are primarily aged 25-55 with a higher vocational (HBO) or university (WO) education, in sectors like financial services, ICT, or public administration;

  • There has been a significant decrease in working from home post-COVID-19 pandemic, from an average of 19.4 hours per week to 11 hours per week in 2022.

Additionally, the report of the Social and Economic Council dated March 31, 2022, already identified 15 risks of hybrid working related to:

  • Collaboration and innovation;

  • Productivity;

  • Work pressure (including hidden overtime and work outside regular hours);

  • Employee satisfaction and engagement;

  • Work-life balance;

  • Possibility of an adequate hybrid workspace;

  • Private costs;

  • Informal and spontaneous learning and development (including onboarding and required skill sets);

  • Equal treatment;

  • Culture (including a two-track culture, enforcement and supervision, leadership style, and social cohesion);

  • Communication (including coordination);

  • Well-being and health (including liability based on duty of care or perhaps absence thereof for locations other than the home office);

  • Taxation, social security, and administration;

  • ICT (including cybersecurity);

  • Privacy (including confidentiality).

The benefits of hybrid working on the reduction of public resources, mobility, and congestion, as well as the housing and office market, were also put into perspective by this report of the Social and Economic Council.

Experience shows that making hybrid working a success requires developing a company-specific policy vision with an integrated approach on legal, cultural, strategic, and operational levels.

In a "one size fits all" approach, for a subject that fundamentally revolves around individual autonomy and customization, the opportunities of hybrid working may be negligible compared to the challenges it can bring. Therefore, think before you start.

Read the article from 2022 for CHRO here.


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