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Germany: Working from home is here to stay, says study

March 4, 2024

Working from home is the not-so-new normal for many German workers, a study says. More than a third of service sector employees do their jobs remotely at least some of the time.

A woman sitting with a laptop working from home
The service sector, in particular, appears to have permanently shifted toward what Germans term "home office"Image: Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance/dpa

German economic research institute Ifo says that working from home has now become embedded in the country's work culture — at least in some realms of employment.

Figures showed that the service sector, in particular, appears to have permanently shifted toward working from home since the coronavirus pandemic.

What the research shows about German workers

Almost a quarter of workers in Germany — 24.1% — did their jobs, at least partially, from home in February.

The Munich-based research institute Ifo said that almost a quarter of employees in Germany worked at least partially from home in February 2024.

Ifo said the figures closely matched data in the years since the COVID-19 lockdown and did not appear to be changing. 

"The proportion has been almost constant for two years," said Ifo expert Jean-Victor Alipour. The concept of working from home has "been firmly established in Germany," he added.

How the figures break down in different sectors

Working from home was noticeably less common in small and medium-sized companies, the data showed, with 20.5% of employees in such enterprises regularly working from home.

The proportion in large companies was 32.1% and was highest among service employees at 34.1 %. In industry, it was just 16%, in trade 12.2%, and in the construction industry 5.4%.

Converting offices to solve the housing crisis

However, Ifo said, even where in-office presence is not strictly necessary, it is sometimes desirable.

"Stronger coordination of office hours to strengthen personal exchange definitely makes sense," Alipour said.

"It is undisputed that face-to-face work is superior to home office in some areas: for example in the transfer of knowledge, creativity in the group or social aspects."

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rc/ab (AFP, epd)

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