NEW WORK: WORKING WORLD ACCEPTS HOME OFFICE AS NEW NORMAL

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50 PERCENT OF GERMANS WANT THE RIGHT TO A HOME OFFICE

Erfurt, 27 August 2020 - More efficient work, more free time, more energy, less costs - that is the conclusion of most employees on the switch to home office due to the Corona crisis, despite initial challenges especially among executives. This is proven by a new study of the IUBH International University of Applied Sciences on "The impact of the Corona crisis on home office", for which 550 persons were interviewed - among them 75 managing directors, 150 from the middle management level and 325 professional employees.

Home office before the crisis: the exception rather than the rule

Although the prerequisites were given in many places, home office was treated rather stepmotherly in Germany before the Corona crisis. In other words, home office was basically not possible in a quarter of the companies. Only one fifth of the respondents said that home office was possible on more than three days a week.

 

Home office during the crisis: clearly more advantages than disadvantages

When home office became unavoidable for a large part of the companies due to hygiene regulations, these regulations had to be adapted, with positive effects: 72 percent of the respondents agree with the statement that they basically like to work from home - and can imagine making more use of it in the future. "Particularly interesting for us: even respondents with children say that they are only slightly less productive than their colleagues without children, with a difference of just six percentage points," says Prof. Dr. Regina Cordes, head of the IUBH study.

Many say that working from home is more self-determined (68 percent) and more efficient (61 percent), as well as more free time (57 percent), for example because there is no need to travel to work. Almost every second respondent says they feel more energetic since working in a home office, and more than 50 percent feel more balanced. Just as many say they spend less money than before the pandemic, for example by not having to pay for canteen costs.

The disadvantages of the home office played a comparatively minor role for the study participants: only 15 percent feel that they are less productive in the home office, while ten percent criticise the equipment in the home office, i.e. the lack of separate work areas, work furniture and technical equipment. As many as a third of the ten per cent who criticise the home workspace cite distraction as the main reason for dissatisfaction in their own four walls. Social interaction also suffers for 60 per cent of all participants surveyed due to the home office, although cohesion and communication within the team remain the same for the majority.

 

Employers and managers on home office during the crisis: almost universally positive assessment

 Managers see the issue of home office as a greater challenge than their employees: 28 percent of the managers surveyed have the impression that home office is a greater burden on employees. 60 per cent are of the opinion that the crisis presents them with particular challenges: Communication with employees, but also with customers, seems to be much more difficult for them. Nevertheless, two-thirds of the managers would like to give their employees the opportunity to work from home in the future. "They trust that they will be just as productive as in the office," says Cordes.

 

Home office after the crisis: more acceptance and thus a higher degree of digitalisation of the working world

Looking to the future, 42 percent of those surveyed assume that there will be more home office offers after the Corona pandemic than before the crisis. Twenty-seven per cent believe the arrangements will remain unchanged and 15 per cent expect fewer opportunities to work from home. In contrast, four out of five respondents would like to continue working at home at least occasionally in the future. This also applies to more than half of the respondents who had not worked in a home office before. Even for a right to home office, more than 46 percent of the study participants are in favour.

 Another advantage of the home office trend: 43 percent of the study participants assume that the Corona pandemic will drive their companies' investments in digitalisation. 39 percent state that more money has already flowed into digital business models.

 

 Conclusion

"Nobody knows how long the restrictions caused by the Corona outbreak will remain. What is certain, however, is that there has been a noticeable dent in the perception of what is possible when it comes to home office," Cordes concludes. "The majority of employees and managers have recognised the advantages and would like to have this option in the future, also because the changeover has brought about a certain advance in the degree of digitalisation of companies. More home office offers for employees are thus considered forward-looking - even if working in one's own four walls may no longer be absolutely necessary at some point."

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