Dream or Nightmare: Home Office

The two lockdowns forced many employees to work from home for the first time. home office – what some experience as a blessing is a curse for others. While many fight for extended home office options and a right to work from home in the future, others want to go back to their workplaces rather sooner than later.

  • General Pros
    • No more commuting reduces contacts and exposure to the virus
    • There is less travel involved to and from workplace, less meetings and the overall time spent is visibly reduced.
    • Less interruptions and better focus result in higher efficiency.  
    • Flexible working hours allow for individual planning of work time and leisure.
    • Improved work-life-balance leads to an increased quality of life!

“I find home office way more relaxed. You don’t have to dress up as much and a shower is not really necessary; do the hair not really as well – only in case of a video conference. You preserve your better cloths and can be casual in front of the computer, wearing only sweatpants. Furthermore, you can do your laundry on the side or accept a package which is great. Collaboration happens via phone, or email. The many private conversations, of course, get lost but you focus more on professional content.“

  • General Cons

The advantages mentioned above are perceived by some as rather theoretical as many need to combine home office with family, home schooling or a small home with little privacy. Often there is not a separate room due to small apartments. Separation of private vs work seems to be more difficult and often lines are blurred. Some report a tendency to work more from home than in the office. A lack of social contacts leads to loneliness and isolation. Often it seems difficult to get a day structured.

“One’s own productivity decreases a lot, which might be due to lack of concentration and the lack of normal routine, or the many possible ways to distraction“

“It’s more stressful since you have to be quicker in answering to Emails or messages. Otherwise, the other person has the feeling one is not at his workplace but somewhere else busy at home.

  • Homo Office is not possible for all types of work

While management and office workers can often switch to home office easily, others need equipment and structure provided only at the workplace. This can lead to a discrepancy of different types of workers as well as jealousy.

“By now, a real sense of injustice is distinguished by many amongst us technical employees because by now, besides the scientists/ researchers and office staff suddenly cleaning personal, mechanics etc. have to do home office, even if they also cannot really work from home. Yet, I would always prefer home office to being at the office.”

  • Students are most affected

Young people suffer most. Distance teaching, home schooling and continuously changing expectations for examinations add to the stress of loneliness and decreasing motivation. For this group home office is not an option at all.  

“Since almost a year now, we only have online lectures and online learning groups. Meetings and Discussions also only happen via Zoom. I haven’t been to the library since last spring! You cannot meet anyone anymore and only spend time at home. Everyone is experiencing this. You really need a lot of motivation to continue to sit down at your desk”

After weeks of “light” lockdown, Germany went into a full lockdown again on December 16th. That day, IKM started a long-term online community to observe changes in behavior, compliance, emotions, and observations of consumers in their close environment.

Stay tuned – We will regularly post findings from this standing IKM consumer community

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