The Future of Work – Netherlands

The Dutch working environment

Filter the map below to see how the mood of Dutch workers compares to those in other markets:

Dutch workers thrive in a healthy work environment

Broadly, the working dynamic in the Netherlands appears to be healthier than in other markets, with Dutch respondents emerging as the most likely to convey a sense of contentment at work (46%) and with 30% describing their working atmosphere as calm.

One fifth of Dutch respondent’s report feeling loved (20%) and supported (19%) which could be conducive of high levels of engagement in their work. Almost two fifths report feeling productive (38%) and a third (32%) motivated. This is compared to only 10% who say they are bored and 8% who say they’re overwhelmed.

However, feelings of frustration (18%) and exhaustion (17%) are also present, although felt significantly higher among females. Just over a fifth (21%) of the female workers surveyed reported feeling frustrated compared to 15% of males. Similarly, a fifth (20%) reported feeling exhausted compared to 13% of males.

Despite this, engagement in work appears to be unaffected with females feeling almost equally as engaged in their work as their male counterparts; 31% of the female workers surveyed report feeling motivated compared to 33% of males. Similarly, 35% of females report feeling productive, just shy of 40% of males.

Reassuringly, there are only a few cases of poor wellbeing. Less than one in ten (9%) of all the workers surveyed report feeling sad and only 4% feeling anxious.

Workplace culture

More Dutch workers are comfortable talking to their boss about their mental health, than they are a pay rise

When it comes to their own, or someone else’s wellbeing, a sizeable minority of the Dutch workers surveyed feel comfortable talking to their boss.

Two fifths (39%) of the Dutch workers surveyed say they feel comfortable asking for time off work for mental health reasons, compared to 23% who feel uncomfortable. Similarly, over a half (53%) feel comfortable asking for time off to care for someone else compared to only 15% who feel uncomfortable.

Despite this, Dutch workers have felt compelled to lie when it comes to their mental health, with one in five (18%) reporting that they have lied to their boss about taking time off work for mental health reasons.

Considering career-related discussions fewer Dutch workers report feeling comfortable talking to their boss. While a quarter (24%) say they feel comfortable asking their boss for a pay rise, 36% say they feel uncomfortable. Similarly, the same proportion (24%) feel comfortable asking for a promotion, compared to almost a third (32%) who feel uncomfortable doing this.

Do Dutch workers and employers share mutual respect?

Future of work

Three fifths say a 4-day working week would positively impact their wellbeing, but is it realistic?

There have been global conversations among governments and businesses about the possibility of reducing the 5-day working week to just 4 days, but do Dutch workers think it’s realistic?

Across the sample, three fifths (59%) say reducing their working week to 4 days would positively impact their wellbeing, which is felt consistently across all ages and genders. Furthermore, almost half (47%) think they’d be more productive working within 4 days, indicating that workers could be more engaged and produce better work if their week was shortened.

A quarter (24%) would even go as far as saying they would relocate to another country that allowed the 4-day working week if theirs didn’t, indicating the impact it could have on staff retention if the initiative isn’t implemented.  

Nevertheless, despite a generally favourable view of the 4-day working week not all the Dutch respondents think it’s realistic. A third (35%) say they don’t know how they’d fit their workload into 4 days and two fifths (43%) don’t think their employer would ever go for it.

Digital transformation hopes and fears

In the last year, a rapid shift toward automation in the workplace has sparked conversations around the potential benefits and challenges for businesses and their workers. Simultaneously, businesses are increasingly confronted by a looming threat of a cyberattacks or security breaches.

Compared to other markets, Dutch workers are slightly less likely to report concerns around automation and cybersecurity. Just under a fifth (17%) are worried their role could be replaced by automation compared to almost a quarter (23%) of the European average. Similarly, 17% worry they’ll fall victim to a cyber-attack at work compared to 21% across all European markets.

Despite notable concerns among the Dutch workers, there are signs of optimism when it comes to advanced technologies. When thinking about how artificial intelligence will impact their organisation, one in four (25%) Dutch workers think it will be a good thing overall.

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