Friday, November 12, 2010

How stressed are the Dutch? A lot...)

Will more women working more hours make society more stressed? That was 'the question' in the Dutch parliament yesterday 'how to get more women to work more hours'. Social Affairs and Employment Minister Henk Kamp thinks it is a “cultural problem that most Dutch women are satisfied to work just part-time”. With an aging population, the government wants more women to work full time. Not surprisingly, the smaller Christian parties want more financial advantages for stay-at-home mums, while the liberal parties want financial incentives to get women into the workplace. The left-wing opposition want to avoid a stressful society and want more flexibility in the workplace.
The Netherlands Institute for Social Research says “the Dutch are under too much pressure”. A report by the institute reveals that over half the population between the ages of 25 and 60 regularly feel they are too busy. Women feel more pressure (60 percent) than men (52 percent).
It is no wonder they are so stressed: the Dutch spend more time travelling to and from work than anyone else in Europe. A report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development puts the figure at an average 50 minutes (in Istanbul it can go up to 2 x 2 hrs.)
Logically, it is parents with children under 13 (“rush-hour families”) who feel most of the stress. So what is the answer? Only seven percent of parents say they would work more if crèches were open longer. Forty percent say flexible hours would make a difference to their work-life balance. Others suggest starting work an hour later, working from home one day a week, and longer opening hours for shops and municipal services. But is there a danger that society will just become more stressed by a 24-hour economy?

Day Opening - November 12

Batmen!