Fifty percent of German workers would like to work at home for several days a week, according to a recent survey by Bitkom, the association for IT, telecoms and new media. Seventeen percent of those surveyed would prefer to work at home all of the time and only 25% don’t like the idea of homeworking at all. The desire for home working was much stronger in younger age groups.
Bitkom’s report points to the obvious advantages of home working: a better balance between work and family life, reduced travel costs and less time wasted on commuting. It goes on to say that the technology requirements for homeworking are minimal – no more than a computer, a phone and a broadband connection, but points out that home workers need a high level of trust and autonomy from their employers in order to be effective.
I feel that these cultural issues within companies are key. It seems that some senior managers are reluctant to allow home working, due to concerns about productivity, despite significant evidence to the contrary. The need to attract and retain talented employees remains hugely important and those who are willing to adopt more flexible working practices may be gaining a significant advantage in the employment market.