Trend reveals: Mobile working is here to stay
From home office back to the office? Since the end of the Corona lockdowns, it is clear that remote work has become permanently established in German companies. More and more firms are adapting to this trend: On one hand, they make efforts to bring employees back to the office more frequently – whether through incentives or clear guidelines. On the other hand, they are reducing office spaces by shortening leases, consolidating locations, or forgoing new office properties. This trend is intensifying, as a recent ifo survey indicates.
Three times more remote work than before the pandemic
In the modern work environment, Simon Krause is convinced that remote work has become a permanently integral part. “About a quarter of employees work regularly from home,” says the ifo expert. Especially Mondays and Fridays are popular days to work from home or any other location outside the office. The trend towards mobile work is unbroken.
This is also supported by the current figures from his institute: A business survey by the Munich-based research institution ifo revealed that currently, 12.3 % of all office workplaces on an average weekday are not occupied due to remote work. For comparison, in 2019 – pre-pandemic – it was only 4.6 %. “The proportion of unused workplaces in offices has thus tripled,” says Krause.
IT and advertising sectors embrace remote work frequently
But these numbers are not evenly distributed across all sectors: In the service sector, the percentage increased significantly from 6.2 % to 16.8 %. Especially in IT professions, market research and advertising, consulting, and the pharmaceutical industry, there are many jobs that are not physically occupied.
The upward trend is also observed in other sectors such as manufacturing, trade, or the construction industry, though to a much lesser extent.
Altered needs for office spaces
The trend toward remote work has implications for both companies and the real estate market. “Some companies,” says Simon Krause, “are converting vacant offices into coworking spaces to facilitate more personal interaction on the days of physical presence. Other companies are reducing their space requirements to cut costs for unused offices.”
Robert Vesely from the real estate association IVD also sees altered needs for office buildings to make them appealing to companies. The Magdeburg-based entrepreneur emphasizes that, in this context, both digital infrastructure and a redesign of the spaces are crucial. This is to ensure that, for example, multiple teleconferences in one room do not become an acoustic issue. Property owners have already recognized this necessity and are investing accordingly.
Smart solutions for companies
For companies grappling with how to cost-effectively and energy-efficiently utilize their office spaces in light of the remote work trend, smart solutions are available. The Company ReCoTech has developed a space optimization tool to digitally determine the actual need for required office spaces. Whether it’s consolidating spaces or making changes in usage, such as desk-sharing, the tool reveals the full potential of office buildings.
Additionally, for booking shared workspaces, ReCoTech offers a workplace booking app. It accompanies employees throughout the workday, remembers their work preferences, and can automatically handle resource bookings as desired.
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