Long hours, a desire for greater privacy and a reduction in noise; these are the most prominent issues for office workers in the Netherlands. Though, despite this, they are quite happy with their worklife - among the most satisfied of all European countries.

To launch the next localised report in our ‘Rethinking Workplace’ series, we shine a spotlight on the Netherlands. Exploring how the current realisation of ‘workplace’ affects people’s day-to-day happiness, health and wellbeing.

The here and now

Dutch workers largely feel productive in their current offices, and many people have the opportunity to work from home - which is not as widespread across the rest of Europe.

Despite this, flexible working hours are the most coveted employee ‘perk’. So while people still want and need a dedicated workspace, they crave more freedom in when they work.

The Dutch workforce also puts in a lot of hours at the office - 70% work more than they’re contracted to. And, as a potential result, feel they “lack the time” to utilise any employee benefits offered by the organisations they work for.

“70% of the Dutch workforce puts in more than their contracted hours”
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Worklife = wellbeing?

It’s perhaps no wonder, then, that they are advocates of ‘worklife’. 45% believe the growing convergence between work and life to be a benefit in offering greater flexibility.

This was a discussion point in our Dutch focus group event, which saw the research results debated among leading members of the architecture and design community at Amsterdam’s cutting-edge Zoku.

The overwhelming response from the A&D community is the importance of achieving ‘balance’. “Some would argue it’s shifted too far. You can sit on a bouncy ball and work but you would struggle to find a suitable place to have a call.”

Dutch workers value flexibility and feel best when their environment is adapted - even if only in some small part - to their individual needs.

“Worklife is affecting the way we design space. More informal spaces and lives are blurring, which has led to more demand for yoga and mindful studios in the workplace today.”
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Oh, so quiet...

Noise was highlighted as the biggest issue in current Dutch workspaces, with people struggling to secure somewhere for ‘heads down’ tasks.

This is surprising considering that 40% of offices in the Netherlands are, in fact, private. Just 22% of the Dutch workforce are based in open plan spaces.

The designers in our focus groups believed the noise problem might actually be an acoustics issue that’s been mis-categorised: “There is a difference between noise and bad acoustics...eight out of 10 times it’s down to acoustics. It’s important because acoustics influence behaviour.”

Shaping the future

According to the designers in our Amsterdam focus group event, everything boils down to one thing: “what is comes down to is a lack of control.

Whether control over when they work, where they work or how they work, the Dutch workforce wants more individual authority. And though as a nation, the Netherlands is happy with much of their working environment, our research has found that the potential to build on this is vast.

For more insights into how the Netherlands benchmarks against the rest of Europe, download the ‘Rethinking Workplace’ report.

If you want to download the report in Dutch, please visit https://acties.tarkett.nl/worklife

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Rethinking Workplace: the Netherlands snapshot
Anette Timmer EMEA Marketing Director Workplace and SSHL, Tarkett Full bio and articles


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