Home Sweet Home Office

Working from home has many advantages but also numerous risks

During the global pandemic in 2020 the German government has decided to restrict social contacts as much as possible. Companies increasingly allowed their employees to work from home. 

According to the statista website, only 4% of all those surveyed have been working from home before 2020. This value increased to 27% during the first lockdown in April 2020,  which is almost a quarter of all respondents who worked exclusively or mainly from home. The value fell over the year but increased to 24% in January 2021. This shows a clear trend towards more people working from home.

(statista 2021)

This blogpost pursues two central questions:

  • What factors influence performance, commitment and job-satisfaction of employees working from home
  • What are the risks for employers and how can these risks be reduced?

The magazine “Spiegel” published an article with the headline “Homeoffice mit drei Kindern Zu Hause im Versuchslabor” (Der Spiegel 2020). This article clearly shows the challenge of balancing work and childcare. A challenge that many people had to overcome during last year. But what are the advantages, and what are the disadvantages of working from home?

Not every job is suitable for remote work. A surgeon can hardly operate on his patients at home. Also a baker can not sell his rolls to his customers at home. A software developer, on the other hand, can easily program his application at home or anywhere else in the world. Industries that are most suitable for working at home include jobs in the IT industry, marketing, services such as travel agencies, and jobs in the service sector such as call centres. But also areas of public administration, such as the citizens’ office, increasingly worked from home last year. As schools were closed, teachers also had to restructure their teaching and offered online classes or provided teaching material while the students had to work independently from home.

So why was there less work  from home in the past?