Home office makes employees more effective and happy, German study finds
One silver lining to the coronavirus crisis could be that it has allowed employees to find a better way of coping with their workload - by not having to go into the office every day.
A study carried out on 7,000 employees in Germany before and during the corona crisis has found that people reported feeling less stress, while being more productive, during the enforced period of working from home
The study by the IGES Research Institute reported that the number of participants regularly feeling stressed by their work dropped from 21 percent to 15 percent when they changed to "home office", as working from home is known in Germany.
Meanwhile those who rarely or never feel stress rose from 48 percent to 57 percent.
Of those who switched to home office during the crisis, 56 percent said they were more productive at home and two thirds said they were better able to combine family and professional commitments.
Over three quarters of those surveyed said they wanted to stay in home office when the whole crisis was over - at least for part of the time.
"Working from home not only reduces the risk of viral infections, but also pays off in terms of mental health," said Andreas Storm, head of DAK health insurer, which funded the study.
Not welcomed by all workers
Storm said that companies should work the positive findings when thinking about office arrangement in the future "without ignoring the negative aspects of the home office, which also exist".
Not every aspect of home office has been welcomed by workers.
Roughly half of respondents said they missed the clear separation between job and private life, something that was particularly pronounced among those under they age of 30.
Three quarters of those surveyed also missed direct contact with their colleagues.