Home Office as the New Routine

The work culture in Germany has changed sustainably, because even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, home office is no longer an exception but has become part of everyday life for many employees and employers.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 25.06.2024

According to the IAB research report, by 2023, 77 percent of companies with 50 or more employees were already offering the possibility to work from home. Hybrid work, which includes both in-office and home office arrangements, has situational advantages and disadvantages. You can read about them below.

Advantages of Working from Home

  • Time and Cost Savings: Your employees save on commuting time and costs.
  • Work-Life Balance: With greater time flexibility, they can better balance work and personal life.
  • Inclusion: For employees with disabilities, the opportunity to participate in the labor market improves, as their home is usually already adapted to their specific needs.
  • Cost Reduction: Your company may have lower overhead costs for office space or equipment, as well as reduced costs for electricity and water.
  • Environmental Benefits: There are environmental advantages due to reduced traffic and fewer climate-controlled office spaces.

Disadvantages of Working from Home

  • Team Cohesion: Working from home can lead to a weakening of team cohesion and a diminished connection to the company.
  • Data Security: There are concerns about data security, especially if employees work with sensitive information.
  • Isolation: Employees might feel isolated without personal contact with colleagues and supervisors, missing out on certain developments or moods within the company that are only picked up in personal conversations (even casual ones).
  • Idea Exchange: The spontaneous exchange of ideas and problem-solving help are often easier and quicker in person.
  • Blurred Boundaries: Employees may struggle to separate work and personal time, potentially leading to situations where they avoid taking necessary sick leave because they are already at home.

What makes a Successful Home Office Strategy?

A successful home office strategy requires effort from both sides. Here are some suggestions for ensuring it works well in your company.

- For Employers

  • Provide all necessary technical and other resources (important: don't forget data security!)
  • Address all legal and employment-related questions and claims in advance
  • Set expectations for work performance
  • Clarify the practical feasibility of tasks
  • Regulate work and break times
  • Define communication channels and availability
  • Organize regular virtual meetings or conference calls (e.g., daily morning call)
  • Plan regular in-person meetings at the company
  • Show appreciation and understanding for the specific problems of working from home from time to time to strengthen the bond with the company (perhaps with a company outing?)

- For Employees

  • Establish a daily routine
  • Stick to fixed working hours even at home
  • Set daily goals
  • Minimize distractions and, if possible, set up a separate workspace
  • Take regular breaks, move around, and eat healthily
  • Address any open questions or problems with the company or colleagues in a timely manner
  • Utilize regular in-person meetings at the company

Because the Health of Your Employees Is Important Too

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) has developed comprehensive legal and occupational health and safety recommendations for healthy hybrid screen work as part of the "Work: Safe + Healthy" (ASUG) program:

"BMAS Recommendations for Good Hybrid Screen Work"