More time- and place-independent work: opportunities and obstacles (English summary)

Time- and place-independent work (such as at home or remotely or with altered working hours) can result in employees avoiding traffic jams and congestion during their home-to-work commutes.

This report is available in Dutch.

Insights into the reasons why employees work time- and/or place-independently, and the existing obstacles that prevent this from occurring more frequently, can offer key starting points for policy focused on promoting traffic congestion avoidance behaviour.

From 2008 to 2012, the percentage of home-/teleworkers increased from 27 to 32%, owing to a combination of independent developments, efforts undertaken by the government and companies, and developments within organisations. 68% of employees in the Netherlands never work from home or remotely during normal business hours, while the number of hours that employees spend working from home or remotely per week has remained relatively stable for years.

The main reasons why people do not more often opt for ways of working that make it possible for them to avoid traffic jams are: a lack of mutual trust, a work culture that does not permit working remotely or only minimally, a limited applicability of existing regulations and lack of knowledge about these regulations, habitual behavioural patterns, and limited flexibility at the start and end of workdays. Moreover, there is seemingly a natural limit to the amount of time per week in which people can and want to work from home: between 1 and 2 days per week. In order to arrive at a realistic estimate of the net effect this has on mobility in the long-term, it is therefore necessary to take into account these obstacles and natural limits to time- and place-independent work, even in these times of increasing flexibility, efforts being made by the government and companies, and rapid technological development. A further increase in time- and place-independent work is possible if concurrently these obstacles are reduced or removed.

These are the conclusions of the KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis’ research publication: 'More time- and place-independent work: opportunities and obstacles'. In this research project, as commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment’s Better Utilisation (Beter Benutten) programme management, the KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis is focused on the question of whether it is potentially possible to promote the various types of home and place-independent work, such as home-/teleworking, and which obstacles must eventually be removed to achieve this.