In response to the first corona wave, we started working from home on a massive scale two years ago. That has now largely been reversed. Many employers prefer to see their people show up at work. A large part of the employees also prefers this. Our research department examined the main objections in Germany, France and Italy.
Both after the first corona wave in 2020 and after the second in 2021, we examined how employees experienced working from home. After the second wave, the number of employees who indicated that they were unable to work from home appeared to have increased significantly. After the first wave, the average was 25%, after the second wave 30%. It was also striking that the number of employees experiencing objections doubled after the second wave.
Mass working from home was still new in 2020. Many people tried to make the best of it, but even then many employees ran into problems. We got used to working remotely, but at the same time the objections grew. This became apparent in 2021 when widespread working from home was again necessary. The work-from-home situation was viewed more critically. Awareness about the disadvantages of working from home grew.
The main objections mentioned by employees are:
Difference between men and women
Our two studies also show that especially women with children indicate that they experience difficulties in combining household tasks with working from home. They have the feeling that they are constantly 'on'. This may explain why more women than men were inactive while working from home due to care responsibilities.
Our research department concludes that working from home is not a 'one size fits all' solution. Policy makers and employees will have to take into account the objections that employees experience when working from home when designing future work forms.
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