Tuesday 11 May 2021

One in five workers may meet no-one during their working day

A mother working from home on her laptop with her young child sitting on the table beside her.

Photo: Depositphotos

One in five workers had a maximum of one personal meeting with a colleague during their working day by the end of last year, double the 2018 total, according to a new report by the TNO research institute and national statistics agency CBS.

And people who are new to working in relative isolation do feel less attached to their company and are slightly less happy in their jobs than others, the survey showed.

In total, 58,000 people took part in the survey, and 57% said they had a lot of physical encounters with others – colleagues, patients, customers and pupils – during the day. In 2018, the last time the survey was carried out, 69% had regular daily contacts with colleagues and clients.

Seven in 10 survey respondents said they never meet more than one person a day but 90% have regular phone and internet contact with their colleagues.

‘Half the population are still working away from home but those who are [home-based] have found ways to support each other,’ TNO researcher Wendela Hooftman told RTL Nieuws.

‘There is a lot of person attention. For example companies are devising ways to have digital office drinks.’

In particular, people working in the information and communication sectors are less likely to come into contact with others during the day. Before the pandemic one in 10 tended to work in isolation, but this has now gone up to one in two.

Earlier TNO research shows around half of workers spent at least part of the week working at home, and one in four want to continue doing so once the pandemic is over.

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