- Companies increasingly see forms of mobile working as an opportunity
- In the future, employees will perform around half of their work outside the workplace
- Location-independent recruiting expands opportunities for finding talent
Pressure on the labor market is increasing, especially due to the ongoing shortage of skilled workers. For companies, this means that it is becoming increasingly important to be perceived as an attractive employer. The offer to work mobile or from home – often only used as a stopgap solution during the Corona crisis – is seen by more and more companies as an opportunity to attract talent. According to the current Lurse study “Mobile Work”, the companies surveyed expect their employees to work mobile for almost half of their working hours on average in the future.
A total of 137 companies from a wide range of industries (predominantly non-manufacturing) took part in this summer’s online survey. Most of them (87%) have more than 250 employees. Almost three-quarters (73%) offer forms of mobile working, usually on the basis of a company or general works agreement. On average, employees can be absent from their workplace for 3.2 days per week. In each case, 26% of companies allow this on 2 or 3 days, and no fewer than 23% permit mobile working completely without time restrictions.
Stronger employee loyalty, improved recruiting
“When asked why they allow mobile working, the study participants answered quite clearly,” says Maximilian Evers, partner at Lurse. “The main motivations cited were increased attractiveness as an employer (88%) and increased employee retention (86%).” Around three-quarters of respondents (76%) also cited the positive experience of mandatory home office time here, while consistent or increased productivity was cited by 40% as a motivator.
For just over a third (35%), the introduction or expansion of mobile working has also changed their hiring practices: They now recruit talent regardless of location. “This, of course, significantly increases these companies’ search radius and thus their selection of potential professionals,” says Evers.
Many employees, especially those with children or dependents in need of care, want more flexibility in terms of where they work. Mobile working is very convenient for them. Financial incentives are therefore not needed. Thus, 82% of the companies surveyed see no need for an expense allowance. Only a few companies grant employees a monthly payment of up to 50 euros (7%), a one-off amount of up to 1,000 euros (4%) or an effort-related payment (2%).
However, four-fifths of companies (79%) make it easier for their employees to move into their own workrooms by providing them with essential equipment. This primarily relates to technical equipment such as laptops (74%), mice, keyboards and headsets (55%), monitors (49%) and (mobile) phones (44%). By contrast, employers support the purchase of furniture such as office chairs (8%) or desks (5%) to a much lesser extent.
Live abroad, work in Germany?
As expected, mobile working does not include activities that can only be performed on site, such as in production and assembly or in the facility sector. In the case of employee meetings and creative meetings, at least 60% of the study participants would like employees to be present at work. Remarkably, only slightly more than half of the companies still consider it necessary for employees to be present at customer meetings, recruiting and onboarding, provided that this is coordinated within the company.
Earning money in Germany, but working in a vacation home in Spain? “For 63% of the study participants, this is not planned. Legal backgrounds certainly play a role here, since various regulations must be observed when working abroad on a mobile basis, e.g., from a tax or labor law perspective. These can be associated with bureaucratic effort in each case,” explains Olga Hupe, Senior Manager at Lurse. Mobile working is possible for as many as 42% of employees abroad, while 8% have no local restrictions whatsoever. One tenth, on the other hand, allow this within certain geographical boundaries, for example in the EU states or in the EU home countries of the respective employees. A further 7% make it dependent on certain conditions: For example, there must be no travel warning for the country in question, or the work abroad must not exceed a set time limit. Some companies also make permission dependent on a secure Internet connection or a data protection obligation.
So who is allowed to work where and for how long outside the company grounds? All the companies surveyed have clear decision-making structures for this. As a rule, in 82% of the companies surveyed, employees and managers agree on this together. In the event of a conflict, the respective supervisors decide in 73 % of the companies. Only 13 % of the companies involve the HR department or the works council.
Workplace environment in times of increased mobile working
Moving away from a strict culture of presence also offers opportunities for redesigning the corporate working environment. For example, 54% of study participants plan to introduce new office concepts, such as integrating creative spaces and meeting points or implementing hybrid work cultures. A similarly large majority (52%) want to implement individual elements of new work concepts and, for example, set up design thinking rooms or purchase or expand equipment for video conferencing. Partial leasing of premises (16%) is also planned in some cases, or individual offices are to be dissolved and more open-plan offices are to be used (15%). Only 19% state that there are no plans whatsoever to change the corporate working environment.
Mobile work as an opportunity
The Corona pandemic has played its part in causing a rethink in many companies when it comes to mobile working: positive experiences during the period when a home office was mandatory, as well as consistent or even increased productivity, are among the strongest motivations for introducing or expanding mobile working, after increasing employer attractiveness and employee loyalty. Companies are also seizing the opportunity to now take a more location-independent view of the job market in terms of recruiting, which can only be beneficial given the ongoing pressures in the labor market. Olga Hupe advises: “Companies are well advised to increasingly address the issue of mobile working and to create organizational, technical, but also cultural framework conditions for it.”
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