For many of us, the corona crisis has placed enormous restrictions on our freedom for the first time in our lives. Traveling, going to restaurants, spending time with friends – everything that gives us personal moments of happiness had to be given up in an instant. Additionally, necessities, such as shopping, became a test of patience.
Shouldn’t Professional Freedom Now Be Extended?
But the cuts have not only affected our private lives, they have also impacted our professional lives. We were no longer able to make the daily commute to the office. We were literally “forced” into the home office. A curse for some, a blessing for others. While we are trying to understand the global impact of the Corona crisis, a central question in the business world is now, “Will home office work continue?”
The curtailment of private freedom – wearing a face mask, social distancing regulations, travel warnings – will continue to be felt for a long time to come. Shouldn’t freedom at the professional level then be extended as far as possible? Will the trending topic of New Work be discussed again? After all, New Work should be a means by which people can develop as free individuals. If they can no longer do this easily on a private level, then is it best for them to be able to do so even more on a professional level?
Will home office work continue?
OTRS Survey Shows Clear Attitude Towards the Home Office
Since its founding, OTRS AG has had the goal of giving its employees as much freedom as possible. The free choice of workplace was already the order of the day long before corona. Today, we wanted to understand how employees worldwide have dealt with their home office during corona, whether they still want it, what they missed about their offices and whether they believed that having a legal right to working from a home office is reasonable. For this purpose, we conducted an online survey through Pollfish which was filled out by 500 employees from Germany, the USA, Singapore, Brazil and Mexico. The respondents work predominantly in the areas of customer service, IT, office services, HR or marketing.
The results showed once again what many had already guessed: The vast majority (80 percent) enjoy working from home. The most frequently cited reason for preferring the home office is saving commute time so they have more time for other things (20 percent). This is despite the fact that 68 percent stated that the sudden change to a home office was an unfamiliar situation.
Obviously, the switch to the home office not only increases satisfaction, but also productivity: 43 percent say that they can work more productively from home, while 39 percent say that they can work just as productively from the home office as from the office.
The respondents to our study have taken a clear position on this issue: 61 percent of those surveyed worldwide are in favor of having a right to work from a home office.
The Majority of Respondents Support the Right to a Home Office
A planned law regarding home office usage in Germany is currently the subject of intense debate in the media. On the one hand, it is a logical conclusion of the new circumstances brought on by the Corona crisis; on the other hand, it would be a political decision which might not please all companies. The respondents to our study have taken a clear position on this issue: 61 percent of those surveyed worldwide are in favor of having a right to work from a home office. 90 percent also believe that companies would benefit if people were to switch to a home office. The change would not only save enormous costs for business travel and office space, but would also benefit businesses because employees would be more satisfied and relaxed.
New Work Means Even More Than Just Home Office
As the results of the study show, the majority is not only in favor of a law that allows for home offices, but also believes (83 percent) that the corona crisis has indeed triggered a new corporate trend towards more home office use and digitalization. The results show a clear desire to working from a home office, which should give food for thought to companies that did not regularly practice this before corona.
However, the home office alone is not enough to give employees individual freedom within the framework of New Work. Instead, innovative working time models should also be considered. The corona crisis has once again revealed how much parents need flexible working hours and part-time arrangements. Other measures to increase employee satisfaction could include incentives, new employee structures, intuitive communication tools and a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program that enables employees to carry out social projects that are close to their hearts, even in the course of their work. Now is the right time to rethink old structures and take employee satisfaction to a new level.