Over half of German companies to keep work from home: survey

Over half of companies in Germany, or 54 percent, wanted to make working from home permanent for their employees, according to a study by the German ifo Institute published on Monday.

“The coronavirus crisis could give working from home arrangements a lasting boost,” said Oliver Falck, director of the ifo center for industrial organization and new technologies and co-author of the study.

Three in four German companies had made arrangements for parts of their workforce to work from home as a way to deal with the coronavirus crisis, according to the monthly survey of around 7,300 German companies.

“For many companies, these new arrangements involved substantial investment in digital infrastructure and new communications technology. A complete return to the old way of working is highly unlikely,” Falck noted.

According to ifo Institute, it would be possible for 56 percent of employees in Germany to temporarily work from home. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, only about half of this potential had been utilized.

However, jobs performed completely from home were “likely to remain the exception,” according to the study.

“We know that the lack of social contact involved with working from home can be a burden in the long term and that the digital world does not lend itself to all aspects of creative exchange or transferring knowledge and ideas,” said Jean-Victor Alipour, co-author of the ifo study.

It was more likely that hybrid models of working on-site and from home would be implemented. “This combines the advantages of autonomy and flexibility afforded by working from home with those of social contact in the workplace,” added Alipour.