Remote working a high priority for employees - JLL

Tim Harrup

The evolving expectations of company employees in terms of office working and remote working will clearly have an impact on the real estate market. In order to evaluate the current situation where employee expectations and desires are concerned, real estate advisor JLL has conducted a worldwide survey, including a section dedicated to the Belux.

JLL started by pointing out that the persons surveyed amounted to over 4,300 worldwide, with 302 of these in the Belux. They all work for companies of over 100 employees, with 70% of them being in ‘large corporates’. The importance for employers of having the right work strategy was underlined at the outset by JLL Research Director Flore Pradere who alluded to the ‘great resignation’ which had been seen in the USA as employees show their dissatisfaction with their working conditions by leaving the company.

JLL finds that hybrid working (office/home/elsewhere) has now reached an optimum point, with the global average amount of time spent working outside of the office being 2.3 days a week. In Belux, however, the figure is significantly lower, at 1.7 days. The expectation in the Belux is that in a year’s time this figure will remain much the same and that of the approximately 1.75 days spent working away from the office, around half a day will be spent in a ‘third location’ and the rest at home. The office, however, remains an important place and some 86% of Belux employees expect to continue working for some of the time in the office.

It is important to note that two thirds of employees both in the Belux and globally believe that offering remote/hybrid working will be fundamental to retain the workforce in the future and that in the long-term the employer will be expected to support remote/hybrid work at home. Just over half of Belux employees say that in the long-term the office will remain central to their working life. The survey also shows that with the current level of 1-2 days working at home, most employees feel they are as productive as or more productive than in the office. And in the Belux, only 38% of those surveyed say that ‘never working from home’ is an acceptable proposition.


There is naturally a downside to working away from the office and this is expressed as follows in the Belux: some 15% of employees today feel isolated, struggling to maintain close relationships with colleagues, 57% regret the lack of social interaction when working remotely and 40% miss the common understanding and connections made during face-to-face exchanges.

Just over a third also speak of clear boundaries between personal life and professional life which enable them to disconnect when leaving the office. On this point, it was also found that there is a tendency to adopt the same habits at home as in the office in terms of when a coffee is taken, allowing a ‘switching off’ period at the end of the day etc.

The financial aspect of all this is obviously an important factor, with the question of how much of the employees’ increased expenses at home (electricity, heating…) may be compensated by the employer. These extra costs need to be set against the lower costs (travel to work, lunch in a restaurant…) which may benefit the employee when at home. The survey shows that in general terms, employees now put ‘quality of life’ as a higher criterion than ‘salary’ in evaluating their place of work. Choosing working hours, having flexible schedules and switching to a four day working week, with one day available for free time are top priorities. It should be pointed out, however, that the survey was conducted shortly before the current rocketing inflation took hold around the world and that ‘salary’ is therefore likely to gain in importance once again.

Where the office facilities are concerned, employees in Belgium and Luxembourg are looking for pragmatic initiatives improving quality of life. Free healthy food, green benefits (e-bike, etc.) or gardens, roof-tops and terraces are the most demanded.

For employers, all of this means, JLL finds, that the responsible employer of the future will focus on taking care of the health of their people and that the health & wellbeing and quality of life are the top priorities of employees’ expectations.