The teleworking phenomenon appears to be bearing fruit for public sector staff in Luxembourg after a pilot project recorded “significant effects”.
Since October 2017, around 100 civil servants working across 11 departments or administrations have worked remotely on a flexible basis and given feedback.
“An initial assessment of teleworkers and their co-workers showed that teleworking has significantly improved the well-being of the people concerned,” the civil service and reform ministry reported on Friday. It further said that participating staff reported better work-life balance, shorter journey times and greater wellbeing.
Increasing staff motivation
Supervisors, it said, reported that teleworking appeared to increase staff motivation and had a neutral impact on user friendliness and work atmosphere. It also appears to have had a ripple effect with three quarters of colleagues of teleworkers surveyed saying they would like to try remote working.
The ministry announced on Friday that the pilot would be extended until the end of the year to “have a maximum of feedback from experience in order to develop recommendations to modify the current grand ducal regulation and to better manage its implementation of teleworking.”
Teleworking was identified as a sustainable approach to work and public infrastructure within the strategic Rifkin study (the third industrial revolution), published in 2016. A previous pilot project carried out in Luxembourg in 2007 and 2008 attracted just seven participants. Meanwhile, a 2015 survey found that only one in ten departments had staff who worked remotely. This was largely because legally teleworking was limited to civil servants with 5 years of seniority and excluded department heads, trainees and cross-border workers.
Pending the final evaluation of the pilot, the civil service and administrative reform ministry will make legislative recommendations to enable more civil servants to work remotely in future.
Private sector trend
The concept is popular with staff in Luxembourg--a 2017 quality of work survey found that 57% of respondents would like to be able to work remotely or from home.
And private sector employers also appear to be leaning to teleworking practices, particularly since 190,000 workers commute to Luxembourg from over the borders every day.
For tax reasons, there are limitations on the number of days cross-border workers may work remotely from their country of residence. Last year economy minister Étienne Schneider met with officials from Saarland and the German federal government to discuss the tax implications of working remotely while Xavier Bettel announced the creation of a coworking hub in Esch-Belval as a kind of satellite office for French commuters.