More than half of European respondents (56.8%) say that, on average, they take less than an hour to get to and from work each day. One third of them (29.8%) take less than half an hour a day, whilst 27% take between 30 minutes and an hour. Of the countries surveyed, the British spend the most time travelling with 28.8% claiming to take 90 minutes or more on their commute. Workers in Belgium are next on the list with 24% taking in excess of an hour and a half, while the Germans at 17.9%, spend the least amount of time commuting.
In terms of distance undertaken, one fifth of Europeans (23.3%) travel, on average, further than 40 km or even more each day, while 36.2% travel fewer than 10 km. The commuting time tells us more than the commuting distance, because even if you only live 15 km from work, the amount of time your journey takes may vary greatly depending on the location, the availability of public transport and the means of transport.
There is a correlation between commute time and employee turnover. European employees who travel for 90 minutes or more each day are more likely to be actively looking for another employer, with 19% doing so on average, compared to just 9% of those whose commute is less than half an hour. The Dutch and the French are the most likely to be influenced in this way by a long commute, with 28% and 25% respectively searching for a change of job when their commute is an hour and a half or more. Workers in Belgium are the least likely to be discouraged by travelling, with only 8% of those that commute more than 90 minutes a day actively considering a new job.
A possible solution for long commuting times or distances is flexible working. In Europe, approximately one third (30.2%) of employees have the option of working from home. Germany (31.6%), UK (30.6%) and Belgium (30.3%) are very close to the average in terms of companies offering this. However, the Netherlands is leading the way with 40.1% of respondents having the option, while French and Austrian workers are the least likely to benefit with 23.3% and 25.4% respectively being given the opportunity. People are largely happy with being given the option, with 47.7% of European workers positive about it, but there are also 20.7% who are not interested (perhaps because they do not like it or live close to work) while 31.6% have the option but find it virtually impossible in their job to make use of it. However, employers do not allow everyone to take up the flexible working option and for some employees it is not practically possible. Of those who are not offered this option across Europe, 22.4% are disappointed, 21.7% are not interested and 55.9% indicate that it is virtually impossible in their job.
There are many reasons for flexible working. Employees are given greater autonomy and experience less time pressure, enabling them to coordinate private matters more easily. This is significantly important with regards to ensuring a better work/life balance and improving efficiency. The long commuting time and the time saved are two important factors, as remote working is well received by employees who have to travel for a long time.
However, not everyone is taking advantage of the opportunity. Of the European workers who have the option of flexible working, 30.7% rarely or never make use of it and 12.7% use it one day or less each month.
Across Europe, those most likely to take advantage of work from home initiatives regularly are over 45 years of age, with 22.6% of this age group working remotely several days a week. Meanwhile, workers aged 30-45 are the most likely (23.1%) to work from home once a week.
"In any case, flexible working will only provide a limited contribution to solving the mobility problem,” said Hilde Haems, Chief Human Resources Officer at SD Worx. “In addition to remote working, many other things will need to be done to address the wider mobility issue. As well as a coherent and cohesive government mobility policy, employers must also consider a sophisticated integral mobility policy for employees that optimises and jointly addresses accessibility, commuting and employees' transport options."
The Europe LTD survey is a questionnaire on one hundred work-related aspects relevant to employee satisfaction, motivation, involvement and engagement. Since 2009, the survey has been carried out annually among 2,500 Belgian employees under the name NV Belgium. Because of its international growth, SD Worx expanded this survey in 2017 to include Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria and the United Kingdom. It concerns 500 employees each time.
The sample is representative of the specific local labour markets, with the same composition as to statute ((blue-collar) workers, office workers and civil servants), gender, region, work regime, language, educational degree and organisation size as that of the active labour population in the countries concerned.
As the leading European player in payroll and HR, SD Worx provides worldwide services in the areas of payroll, HR, legal support, training, automation, consultancy and outsourcing. It focuses on customer centricity, fully embraces digitisation and is committed to international growth. More than 65,000 small and large organisations worldwide have currently placed their trust in SD Worx and its experience of more than 70 years.
The 4,150 employees at SD Worx operate in ten countries: Belgium (HQ), Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Austria, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. SD Worx calculates the salaries of some 4.4 million employees and achieved a turnover of €443 million in 2017. SD Worx is co-founder of the Payroll Services Alliance, a global strategic network of leading payroll companies that together provide 32 million payroll calculations.
More info on: www.sdworx.com