Throughout the coronavirus crisis in Germany, many employees shifted to working from home.
During the pandemic, 'Home Office' became not only more culturally acceptable, but encouraged when possible.
But will employers will continue to embrace the trend even when the pandemic is over?
According to a new survey by management consultants Deloitte, the answer is clear.
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Out of the 100 CFOs they surveyed in September, 66 percent said that: “We plan to increasingly focus on remote working.”
Many see the move as a key way to cut costs: “We are planning to reduce our office space in the future due to the increased home office offering,” said 37 percent of survey respondents.
Companies have mixed views, however, when it comes to how effective remote working is.
According to an Ifo survey commissioned by the Stiftung Familienunternehmen, only 5.7 percent of companies said that Home Office spurred a boost in productivity, while almost a third registered a decrease in work performance of their employees.
Yet another study of 7,000 employees found that 56 percent said they were more productive at home and two thirds said they were better able to combine family and professional commitments.
More saving and spending
It is possible that the cost reductions achieved by the Home Office may outweigh any scepticism. According to the Deloitte survey, 71 percent of managers believe that cutting costs will be at the top of their list of strategic measures in the next twelve months.
Through the money saved, 61 percent said they intend to spend more on “optimising organisation and business processes”.
A further 47 percent want to place a stronger emphasis on “software, data, IT networks and website activities.”
And 43 percent indicated that they will spend more on cybersecurity measures to ensure the safety of Home Office workers.
Before the coronavirus crisis as few as eight percent of employees in Germany regularly worked from home – a figure which shot up to 35 percent in the spring.
Germany's Employment Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) even wants to make working from home a legal right and is currently drafting a law which would enable anyone who wants to (and is able to) to work in home office.
Further measures are being discussed, such as tax breaks for those who work from home, and a certain number of days which would be made available to those who work remotely.