WORKING FROM HOME: NEW NORMAL WITH NEW CHALLENGES

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IU Study: Possibility for working from home is a decisive argument when choosing an employer.

•   For more than half of the respondents, the regular possibility for working from home is indispensable, even after Corona.
•   Loneliness and a lack of social exchange are serious side effects of working from home: one in four feels lonely.
•   Almost three quarters of managers have great confidence in the productivity of their employees when working from home.

Erfurt, 24 May 2022. Working from home has – accelerated by the Corona pandemic – arrived in the middle of society and is already a decisive argument for many people when choosing an employer. This is confirmed by the study "The new normal? The lowdown on working from home." by IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU). According to the study, the possibility to work from home regularly, even after Corona, is indispensable for 63.8 per cent of the respondents. For many, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages: Almost three quarters (72.8 percent) enjoy the feeling of more self-determination and more than half (61.6 percent) say they have more free time as a result of working from home. Additionally, more than half (61.0 per cent) rate their own productivity working from home higher than when working in the office.

"Not offering the possibility to work from home is no longer an option in the future. When looking for a new company, it is not only those companies that offer remote models that stand out positively, but those that do not offer the possibility of working from home – albeit negatively. Companies that do not consider this elementary wish of most employees will face challenges when recruiting new employees, as well as with keeping colleagues in the company. The question of the future is no longer 'if', but 'how'," explains Prof. Dr. Regina Cordes, Professor of Human Resources and Organisation at IU International University of Applied Sciences.

Loneliness and overtime – no exceptional phenomena when working from home
Despite the advantages that working from home brings for the majority, it also brings disadvantages for many respondents, for which employers need to think of solutions: A quarter (26.5 per cent) feel lonely, and more than half (53.9 per cent) lack social interaction when working from home. One in five (21.1 per cent) say that working from home makes it harder to switch off after work and at weekends, and more than a quarter (28.0 per cent) work more overtime since they started working from home.

"The new working environment offers companies the opportunity to create individually tailored working environments. For managers, however, this means that in these changing structures they must anticipate even more strongly what the mood of their employees is like. After all, difficulties such as excessive demands, overwork or health and psychological problems can be overlooked more quickly if the non-verbal signals from everyday office life disappear. The care and active collection of feedback by the manager is therefore of particular importance in order to avoid overtime, prevent burnout and create the best working environment for all employees," emphasises New Work expert Prof. Cordes.

Working from home from the managers‘ perspective
Managers are aware of the new tasks: more than half of the managers surveyed (58.4 per cent) perceive working from home as a challenge for their role as manager. Nevertheless, 59.9 per cent of them are convinced that they can fulfil their tasks as supervisors in the best way, regardless of if working from home or in the office. The study results also show that almost three quarters (73.0 per cent) have confidence in their employees that they work at least as productively from home as they do in the office. "Mutual trust is a central pillar for new work culture to work well. Managers must learn to let go at one point or another without losing contact with their employees and still be available in case of difficulties. This requires open communication and tact on both sides," explains Prof. Cordes.

About the study
As part of the IU study "The new normal? The lowdown on working from home.", 1,030 people from Germany who had worked in a home office during the Corona pandemic or were working in a home office at the time of the survey were interviewed in January 2022.
With the study, IU International University of Applied Sciences wanted to find out how employees feel about the fact that working from home has become standard in the (office) working world, what advantages but also disadvantages result for employees and what challenges this poses for companies and managers in order to continue to be perceived as attractive employers in the future.

The white paper on the study is available here.


About IU International University of Applied Sciences
With over 85,000 students, IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) is the largest university in Germany. The private, state-recognised educational institution brings together more than 200 Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes under its roof, which are offered in German or English. Students can choose between on-campus study, dual study, distance learning and flexible combination models and thus shape their studies in a self-determined way. In addition, IU facilitates continuing education and promotes the idea of lifelong learning. The university's goal is to make education possible for as many people as possible. IU began operations in 2000 and is now represented in 28 German cities. It cooperates with over 10,000 companies and actively supports them in employee development. Its partners include Motel One, VW Financial Services and Deutsche Bahn. Further information at: www.iu.de/en

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