More working from home after coronavirus

The majority of companies in Germany want to make working from home permanent. Nevertheless, arrangements that see jobs performed completely from home are likely to remain the exception.

14.07.2020 · Economics, Social Sciences, Spatial Research · ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich · News · Research result

Just over half (54 percent) of companies in Germany want to put working from home on a more permanent footing. This is according to a study by the ifo Institute, published in the latest edition of ifo Schnelldienst. Input for the study includes evaluations of data from current ifo company surveys and a survey by professional networking service LinkedIn of its members. “The coronavirus crisis could give working from home arrangements a lasting boost,” says Oliver Falck, Director of the ifo Center for Industrial Organization and New Technologies and coauthor of the study.

Data from the ifo survey shows that three-quarters of companies in Germany arranged for parts of their workforce to work from home as a way to deal with the crisis. In a survey of members of the professional network LinkedIn, almost half of the respondents in Germany said they are now working from home due to the pandemic. “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 explains. According to the ifo study, it would be possible for 56 percent of employees in Germany to temporarily work from home. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, however, only about half of this potential was being utilized.

In addition, an analysis of vacancies and job seekers on LinkedIn shows that page views of jobs advertised to work from home have more than doubled in number. “Nevertheless, arrangements that see jobs performed completely from home in the future are likely to remain the exception,” explains Jean-Victor Alipour, coauthor of the ifo study. He adds: “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. It is more likely that hybrid models of working on-site and from home will prevail. This combines the advantages of autonomy and flexibility afforded by working from home with those of social contact in the workplace.”

Original publication

Homeoffice während der Pandemie und die Implikationen für eine Zeit nach der Krise

Alipour, Jean-Victor / Falck, Oliver / Schüller, Simone
ifo Institut, München, 2020
ifo Schnelldienst, 2020, 73, Nr. 07, 30-36

Further information and contact

www.ifo.de/en