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Working from home is increasingly becoming a competitive factor for companies

The offer of working from home is a decisive factor for the acquisition and retention of employees and their identification with the company. This is shown by a recent bidt study. In addition, employers whose home office attitude is perceived as positive by employees are more attractive - especially for younger skilled workers. Although home office use in Germany has fallen slightly since the end of the coronavirus pandemic, it remains at a high level.

The representative online survey by the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities shows that working from home is still widespread even after the end of the coronavirus pandemic: almost half of all employed internet users in Germany (48 per cent) work from home at least occasionally. The number of those who work from home several times a week has fallen by 10 percentage points to 31% of the workforce since autumn 2022. Employers expect more presence again and the regulations for working from home have also become more formalised. At the same time, employee satisfaction is at an all-time high: 92 per cent of those working from home are satisfied with their own home office situation. More flexibility in the choice of work location could be one reason for this. The overall picture shows that working from home is increasingly becoming a competitive factor for companies in the battle for skilled workers, especially young and highly qualified ones.

On behalf of the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt), the market research institute DCore surveyed a total of 994 working internet users in Germany from 12 to 22 September 2023.

Working from home as an important criterion when choosing an employer

In the competition for skilled workers, working from home is still very important – especially for younger people under the age of 50. For example, 22 per cent of all employees and 30 per cent of those working from home state that they have already changed employers or are thinking about doing so because of the home office offer. This is particularly true for those under 30 (41 per cent). In addition, the home office option plays an important role in the search for a new job for a high proportion of employees with personnel (63 per cent) or budget responsibility (72 per cent). A positive attitude of the employer towards working from home is also decisive for many employees: 29 per cent of employees state that they would consider switching if they perceived a negative attitude from their employer.

Stronger identification with a positive attitude towards working from home

Contrary to what is often assumed, employees who work from home identify particularly strongly with their employer. For example, 71 per cent of them agree with the statement that their current employer is the best for them. In contrast, only 53 per cent of employees who do not work from home agree. There are also clear differences in similar aspects, such as the sense of belonging to the organisation.

This shows that the employer’s perceived attitude towards working from home plays a decisive role in identification with a company’s values and goals. The more positively employees rate their employer’s attitude towards working from home, the more strongly they identify with the company. This effect can even be seen when employees do not work from home at all.

Dr Roland A. Stürz, Head of Think Tank at the bidt, points to a broader context:

A higher level of company identification depends above all on the working environment and trust towards employees, which is reflected in the attitude towards working from home, among other things. This openness and culture of trust naturally goes hand in hand with the offer and frequent use of working from home. This is why home office options are increasingly becoming a competitive factor for companies in the battle for well-trained specialists.

Dr. Roland A. Stürz To the profile

Home office as a career booster?

Home office use is not perceived as a “career killer”, on the contrary: if you ask employees for whom working from home would be possible, 31 per cent even see positive effects and only 7 per cent fear negative influences on their career. If employees perceive a positive attitude towards working from home on the part of the employer, 39 per cent of employees even see positive effects and only 5 per cent believe that their career will suffer as a result of working from home.

This shows a certain discrepancy to the assessment of some experts, according to which less presence at the workplace reduces the chances of promotion. Antonia Schlude, research assistant in the Think Tank department at the bidt, therefore believes that both sides have a duty:

Employees need to discuss their own successes, request feedback from their superiors and maintain contact with them and their colleagues. Employers should think about regular days of presence and encourage proactive dialogue about the challenges of working from home. Ultimately, this also requires new leadership skills in companies.

Antonia Schlude To the profile

Antonia Schlude

Researcher Think Tank, bidt

Dr. Roland A. Stürz

Head of Think Tank, bidt

Dr. Micha Fischer

Researcher, bidt

Mara Schwind

Researcher Think Tank, bidt

Contact person

Press contact

Dr. Margret Hornsteiner

Head of Communications and Dialogue, bidt

Enquiries about the study

Dr. Roland A. Stürz

Head of Think Tank, bidt