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Remote work saves 36 million kilometres of commuting per year

09:39 29/09/2023

Working at home will save some a cumulative 36 million kilometres of commuting this year, compared to 9.3 million in 2018, according to a survey of 3,750 Belgian workers carried out by Belgium’s federal public service of mobility and transport between October 2022 and May 2023.

The results released also reveal a shift in people’s attitudes since the Covid-19 pandemic – as significantly more Belgians are more likely to go to work by public transport (29%) or bicycle (31%) than use the car today than five years ago.

One third of people work from home at least one day a week and nearly half of Belgians work remotely regularly. People in Brussels do the most work from home – with 42% staying at home at least one day a week, compared to 29% for Wallonia and 33% for Flanders, the survey shows.

Most remote workers (67%) stay at home one or two days a week, with Wednesday (47%) and Friday (49%) the most popular days.

Remote working is, unsurprisingly, more common the further away you live from work. More than half of respondents work from home at least one day a week if they live more than 50km away from their workplace.

Some 45% of remote workers receive compensation for working at home, an allowance of on average €46 per month.

Most home-workers are given a portable computer (70%) and headphones (52%) by their employer. However, not many remote workers have a table, office chair, screen or an additional keyboard.

The main reasons given by interviewees for working at home are more time and a better work-life balance. Disadvantages of remote working cited included the lack of social contact, higher energy costs and extra expenses, such as food shopping.

The study also revealed that in some cases remote working is simply not allowed at all. This was the case for some 63% of respondents in Flanders and 68% in Wallonia.

Written by Liz Newmark