Why work from home should be here to stay
More than half of Germany’s companies want their staff to continue to do some form of work from home — even after the pandemic is over.
According to a survey by the country’s Ifo Institute, 54% of businesses want to make greater use of home offices than before the outbreak. COVID-19 led to a significant shift in how companies view the setup, with three out of four telling their employees to stay away from the office in recent months to conform with new social-distancing rules, Ifo said.
“For many companies, the adjustment involved considerable investments in digital infrastructure and new communication technology,” said Oliver Falck, an Ifo economist who co-authored the survey. “In all likelihood, this reorganization of work will not be completely reversed.”
Before the virus struck, the practice of working remotely was relatively rare in Germany, according to the report. While about 56% of employees in the country were technically able to work from home temporarily, only about half of those actually did so.
While the study suggests that might change for many workers, Ifo added that low-income and low-skilled workers are significantly less likely to be able to work remotely. It also said that a full shift into working from home remains unlikely — businesses are more likely to adopt a hybrid model that allows a mix of remote and office-based work.