Two themes that have made enormous strides due to the corona crisis are flexible working and sustainable mobility. But what opportunities are there exactly? Eight large employer networks investigated it at a national level. Conclusion: unfortunately it is not as simple as it seems. Employers certainly see a future, but also challenges in working from home. Two thirds of
the surveyed employers think that working from home will also be more obvious after 1 September and that employees will also be asked more actively about this. In short, the foundation has been laid.

Success factors, according to the employers, are confidence in the employees, clear communication and technology and digital resources. The importance of personal attention, customization and flexible leadership was also mentioned. The employer networks indicate that the mix of working from home and going back to the office is still a huge puzzle for many employers. In addition to mobility policy, they will also have to develop a related homework policy in order to make working from home possible in the long term. Smart travel and smart work must go hand in hand, is the advice of the various employer networks that conducted and analyzed the research. The regional mobility networks together have almost national coverage and are ready to assist employers with targeted advice and tools.

Challenges for employers
Employers are wondering how they can keep their home-working employees engaged in the long term, the study found. And how the social contacts and the bond with the company can be safeguarded and what working from home does to the physical and mental condition of the staff. For the time being, employers are groping in the dark for answers to questions such as: What should the employer facilitate about working from home? How is the ergonomics of the home workstation and how can this be checked? As employers, should we meet coffee and / or energy costs? And, how far should we go in this? Employers are also puzzling about how to maintain sustainable behavior, how does less travel and more working from home become a new habit?

Get started with homework and commuting policy
In addition to the importance and attention for (new) home-work policies, some of the employers also indicate that they are redesigning the home-work policy. In addition to an increasing parking pressure - several employers indicate that they temporarily facilitate parking for free - an increase in (electric) bicycle use is also expected. Others hope for productivity gains by reducing commuting and work-to-work kilometers. Some employers indicate that they are thinking about the choice of location, housing and facilities available. Certainly not all employers already consider the home-work policy as one of the current priorities. These employers therefore indicate that inspiration and innovative ideas are welcome.

It is now clear that working from home requires more than having a laptop. More than half of employers indicate that they need help and support - now and in the future - from employer networks and the government with regard to homework and mobility policy. Employers are looking for tips and advice on safe and healthy mobility solutions such as electric bicycles, speed pedelecs, stimulating carpooling, tax tips and the responsible use of public transport. A new appropriate mix of these must be properly secured in regulations.

The initiators carried out this research on the basis of qualitative interviews with a total of 140 employers. With the aim of gaining insight into the effects of working from home and in order to better facilitate employers in the future to stimulate working from home. The research is a collaboration of Knitters Foundation, Accessible Haaglanden and Rijnland, Brabant Mobility Network, Goed op Weg, Employer approach in the Zwolle region, Twente Mobiel, De Verkeersonderneming and South Limburg Accessible. From the interviews it becomes clear that many employers are currently struggling with the question of how they can redesign their work processes within the changing corona preconditions. For example, how do you plan the presence of employees now that the office capacity has been halved. There is also a need and willingness to share experiences in this area.

Joint campaign
Various mobility programs and employer networks will jointly launch a broad campaign in August. There is also a toolkit with which employers can inform and motivate their employees to continue working at home as much as possible and traveling within guidelines in the near future. In this way, we ensure a safe Netherlands together.

Read also: We keep KLM in the air, but what do we do with healthcare?

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