Nearly a quarter of employees in Germany 'continue to work from home'

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Nearly a quarter of employees in Germany 'continue to work from home'
A person working from home in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Finn Winkler

Many employees in Germany are continuing to work from home after Covid measures were relaxed, a new study has found.


Since March, employers in Germany have no longer had to give their staff the opportunity to carry out their work from home after Covid restrictions were eased. 

But a new study shows that the proportion of employees doing 'home office' regularly remains fairly high.

Just under a quarter - 24.5 percent - of people in employment worked remotely in August, according to a survey by the Munich-based Ifo Institute. That's just 0.4 percentage points less than in the last survey carried out in April. In March, the rate was slightly higher at 27.6 percent.

"The obligation to let people work from home expired in March, yet the proportion of employees who do so has fallen only minimally since then," said Jean-Victor Alipour of the ifo Institute.


"Apparently, companies and employees have settled on remote working for the long term."

Germany has been debating making working from home compulsory again this winter amid a possible resurgence of Covid. However, Labour Minister Hubertus Heil recently amended his proposals which envisage making home office an option for employers to offer staff rather than a rule. 

READ ALSO: Why Germany is backtracking on mandatory working from home rule

However, the Ifo said official regulations are unlikely to have a big impact since people seem to have already settled into a routine. 

"Government regulations on work-from-home programmes in the autumn are unlikely to have much additional effect," said Alipour.

According to the study, there are major differences between the various industries where people work remotely. That's because many people - such as cafe/restaurant staff, bus drivers and delivery employees - have no other option but to go to their workplace. 

Work in the home office is most widespread among service providers, with 35.5 percent of employees carrying out regular remote work.

Within this sector, management consultancies are out in front with 71.5 percent of people working from home, followed by IT service providers at 71.3 percent and information service providers at 70.6 percent.

At the very bottom of the service providers section are restaurant (1.7 percent) and hotel (one percent) staff who rarely work from home.  

Overall, retail and construction were the sectors with the lowest number of home office workers, at 5.4 and 5.1 percent respectively. The manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors each came in at just over 15 percent.


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