Our colleagues from RTL 5minutes spoke to Amandine Bianchi from the Robert Half Recruitment Agency about the current state of home office culture in the Grand Duchy.

Has Luxembourg experienced a significant shift towards remote work since the beginning of the pandemic? Looking at the countries motorways, temptation certainly arises to say no!

With the progression of the vaccination campaign, certain businesses and companies have already decided to make a full return to the office, although this may be short-lived considering the grim predictions of the Covid-19 Task Force.

Others have in the meantime fully embraced home office culture, although there was not really a chose with two lockdown periods being imposed last year. As the most recent report from the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (STATEC) dates back to June this year, it is difficult to assess where exactly the country is standing at the moment.

STATEC did however find that remote work slowed down during the second trimester of the year. Nevertheless, it remains considerably elevated with 41% of employees affected, although the highest point ever was even higher at 52%, reached during the second trimester of 2020, at the height of the pandemic.

Home office culture prior to the pandemic

Home office culture was already on the rise before the pandemic began. According to a STATEC report, the number of employees working from home almost tripled in less than a decade, increasing from 7% in 2010 to 20% in 2019.

Bianchini noted that "remote work has become a top priority for present-day employees." Although the recruitment agency also lacks clear statistics on the phenomenon, they see that an increasing number of businesses offer home office hours and flexibility to their employees: "This is a good thing, given that more and more people start expecting it from their employers."

It is clear that remote work can only be done in certain sectors and jobs, but it remains a beneficial offer for employees: a greater balance between private and work life, less stress in exchange for more efficiency, as well as a reduced carbon footprint due to fewer commuting hours.

Jean-Paul Olinger, director of the Union of Luxembourg Enterprises (UEL), also commented on the trend: "Home office culture will remain an essential part of work life even after the pandemic, but certainly to a lesser extend. Despite the undeniable advantages for employees, there are also certainly risks for companies, like teams losing their harmony or new recruits failing to fully integrate."

Future aspirations

Bianchini is convinced that home office will maintain or even increase in importance next year: "There are numerous candidates and they deserve an interesting offer." In our day and age, the attractiveness of a position is just as much defined by flexibility as it is by salary.

For cross-border workers, the maximum number of home office days per year has also increased over the course of the pandemic. Belgians gained ten days (from 24 to 34) while the French gained five (from 29 to 34).

While surpassing this limit means that salaries are taxed in an employees country of residence, this has not stopped people from considering the pros and cons of the switch. Bianchini explained: "Since the beginning of the pandemic, many employees are willing to consider the advantages of remote work to increase their quality of life over higher salaries. By refusing this level of flexibility, companies risk losing committed employees or talented recruits."