What the Dutch can teach the world about remote work – BBC News - Freelance Rack

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

What the Dutch can teach the world about remote work – BBC News

If you’ve been balancing your laptop on a precarious stack of cookbooks, or lamented VPN speed from your kitchen table, you’re not alone. Ever since restrictions were put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19, companies have been scrambling to enable colleagues to work from home.

As we adapt to the much-cited ‘new normal’, some experts are predicting that remote work might be here to stay. This is leaving many nervously eyeing up our makeshift home desk set-ups, and wondering how on earth we can handle the backache

But for some, remote working is just another day at the office. Thousands of workers in the Netherlands benefit from the country’s astonishingly flexible work culture. While the percentage of employed persons usually working remotely before the coronavirus outbreak lingered at around 4.7% in the UK, and 3.6% in the US, 14.1% of the Netherland’s workforce reports usually working away from the office. The Netherlands has long led the global shift toward remote work, with only Finland catching up in recent years while other countries lag behind.

“When the pandemic started, I suddenly found myself playing the part of a remote-work coach for my wife and our neighbours,” says Yvo van Doom, an Amsterdam-based engineer. “I was suddenly answering questions about home networks and video conferencing. It was eye-opening because I’d taken these things for granted.”

Across the globe, many companies have found that the shift to remote work has been a less-than-smooth transition. Setting up usually office-based staff with computer equipment, and recalibrating working culture to keep employees connected, has been a significant shift for most. But for the Netherlands, the country’s already sizeable remote workforce means that the adjustment has been much less dramatic.

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