One in four employees in Germany still working from home

One in four employees in Germany still working from home

Companies in Germany are no longer required to let their employees work from home, but that hasn’t killed off the appetite for the “home office”. New figures show that nearly a quarter of employees are still working from home. 

Many employees in Germany still work from home, despite end of obligation

Far from being a feature of the coronavirus pandemic alone, the home office seems to have stuck in Germany. According to a new study by the Ifo Institute, based in Munich, the number of people working remotely barely fell over the summer

Accordingly, just under a quarter (24,5 percent) of people in employment were working from home in August, just 0,4 percentage points less than when the survey was carried out in April. In March, the rate was a little higher at 27,6 percent. 

“The obligation to work from home expired in March, but since then use has only fallen minimally,” Ifo expert Jean-Victor Alipour told Spiegel. “Apparently, companies and employees are permanently opting for the home office.” 

The statistics show that - unsurprisingly - there are some major differences in home working rates between different sectors. For example, while 71,3 percent of employees working for IT service providers work from home, just 4,5 percent of workers in retail and 5,1 percent of workers in construction are able to do their jobs remotely.

The management consultancy industry posted the highest rate of home working at 71,5 percent, while restaurant (1,7 percent) and hotel (1,0 percent) workers understandably have the lowest remote working rates. 

Government weakens home working ordinance for autumn

The German federal government recently moved away from obliging employers to allow their employees to work from home. Last week, the cabinet adopted a new version of the Corona Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance, put together by Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil. 

Heil had previously been intending to reinstate the home working offer from October, but the latest version of the ordinance weakens the obligation and has instead made it an optional regulation. The Ifo Institute said that official regulations were probably largely irrelevant, as most workers have already settled into a routine with remote or office-based working. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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