Holland to Make Remote Work the Law. This May Backfire

Employees who worked at home during the pandemic shutdowns seem loath to come back to the office. At the same time, companies want people to come back. The Pew Research Foundation found that 61 percent of the people working from home were doing so by choice–not because there wasn’t an office to go to.

On the other hand, Microsoft found that 50 percent of companies want their employees to return to the office full-time. There’s a clear clash between what people want and what senior leadership wants.

At least one government is listening.

On July 5, 2022, the  Dutch parliament voted to require companies to “carefully consider” any request for remote work. If the boss denies it, the company will have to explain why under the proposed legislation, which is poised to become law after the Senate approves it.

While what happens in Holland may well stay in Holland, American workers looking at this legislation may wonder whether something similar would be a good idea in the U.S. Before joining the lobbying effort, consider this counterpoint.

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6 thoughts on “Holland to Make Remote Work the Law. This May Backfire

  1. I have led organizations with hundreds of creative professionals over a number of decades. I have been involved with virtual work, using AppleTalk to manage a information technology software development team which was split across Australia and Canada as early as the mid-1980s. I have participated in hundreds of video-based meetings both before and after the Covid 19 series of lockdowns. I learned the following.

    Power is a real issue in organizational relationships. Managers want bums in seats because it gives them a sense of power over those individuals. Sometimes that power is used to generate high levels of performance. Sometimes is just used to satisfy emotional needs. But over the years, I have seen no difference in level of delivery between individuals working remotely, and individuals working in the office UNLESS


    The manager involved disliked having the people who work for him or her working remotely.

    No wonder many management players wants people back in the office. Having people readily available allows for sense of control and dominance that’s needed for a manager’s personal emotional needs, not necessarily performance results.

    I implemented performance contracting as my management performance system and many of the organizations I led. The results were significant. In general productivity increased. In general retention increased. In general work satisfaction levels increased.

    FOR ALL BUT …..

    Those managers who are simply uncomfortable managing people against delivery targets. They needed to maintain a certain amount of ambiguity in the relationship they had with their direct reports. This increased the power and dominance component of that working relationship, which met their emotional needs.

    Fortunately, for our organizations,, many of those managers self-selected themselves out of the organization and went to work for companies which allowed them to meet their emaotional needs first and performance delivery second.

  2. The situation we have in The Netherlands is very unique: we are a small country with a very high population density. Despite having excellent infrastructure, both roads and public transport can be overcrowded at rush hour.
    It makes sense for us to encourage people to work from home. For most other countries a mixed model with some days at home and some days in the office would probably work better.

  3. Why wouldn’t a company pay a worker in Malaysia or the Philippines the same wage? Isn’t it about paying what a job is worth? Or have we clearly stated that some workers are more desirable simply because they can be exploited? Also, it is important to note that people did not move from NY and CA to get more bang for their buck. They moved because of the ridiculous Covid policies into states like FL and TX. So maybe companies should lobby their local government to make the state a more desirable place to live so they have a decent pick of local talent, if that indeed is what they require to justify their leases ummmm I mean for collaboration.

    1. I live in Texas. A lot of people have moved here from California, primarily because housing is becoming unaffordable in many places in California, and is cheaper here.

      1. Housing has been artificially high in California for at least 20 years now, but that never stopped people from flocking there. It was during the pandemic that the pattern changed. In part, because remote work made it possible, in part because why not go somewhere cheaper, but what pushed people over the edge was the mass shut down of businesses and foresight into what that would mean for the state.

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