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Remote Work
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Remote work: What is behind the trend concept?

The world of work is constantly changing. Although it only affected individual sectors for a long time, the topic of remote work has been gaining in importance for years. Since the coronavirus crisis, remote working outside of the office has now also become commonplace. There are a number of challenges to overcome in connection with flexible working. But it also offers numerous advantages for employees and employers. So will we only work remotely in the future?

Definition - What does remote work mean?

There is no binding definition of the term "remote work". In German, it can be translated as remote work. Remote work therefore generally refers to any form of work that is not performed in the company office. This can be your own home or a hammock in Bali.

In addition to the local component, there is also a time component. Remote work does not take place in the traditional 9-to-5 period. Instead, remote workers distribute their working hours flexibly throughout the day.

Remote work, home office, teleworking - what's the difference?

The terms remote work, home office, teleworking and mobile work are often used interchangeably. However, there are important differences between the terms, which can be particularly relevant from an occupational health and safety perspective.

The term teleworking generally refers to work outside the office. It is usually divided into 3 sub-areas.
Remote work - working from home
Telecommuting involves working from home on a permanent basis. A workplace in the employer's office is not planned from the outset.
Remote work - alternating teleworking

Alternating teleworking:
In alternating teleworking, employees regularly switch between their place of work and their private sphere. When people talk about working from home, they are usually referring to alternating teleworking.

Remote work - mobile work
Mobile work:
Mobile work takes place neither in the office nor at home. Instead, the employee works exclusively from the road. However, there is a connection to the company via information and communication technology.
Remote work, like teleworking, is a generic term for all forms of remote working.

Advantages & challenges of remote work

The fact that hundreds of thousands of people are currently leaving their homes is less the result of normal developments and more the result of the coronavirus crisis. However, the crisis has only accelerated the development that was already taking place. Many employees will continue to want to make use of remote working even after the pandemic. Because it brings numerous advantages.

Advantages of remote work

The list of benefits regularly includes the following points.

  • Productivity: Contrary to the view still held by many employers, many employees find the peace and quiet away from the open-plan office conducive to their own productivity.
  • Avoid travel times: Due to the increasing demand for flexibility in the job market, travel times of more than 30 minutes are the rule rather than the exception. Not having to leave home in the morning therefore means an enormous gain in time.
  • Family-friendliness: Balancing work and family life requires good time management. Working from home creates flexibility, making it easier to organize family and job.
  • Climate protection: Millions of commuters travel across Germany every day, whether to work or to visit customers. This is associated with large amounts of CO2. An increase in remote work, video conferencing instead of customer visits, offers enormous savings potential in favor of climate protection.

However, there are also a number of advantages for employers as a result of the developments relating to remote work:

  • Employer branding: By enabling employees to work flexibly from anywhere and at any time, companies strengthen their employer branding and set themselves apart from the competition when competing for talented employees. In some industries, especially the digital sector, the option to work remotely is usually a minimum requirement.
  • Access to skilled workers: The increasing urbanization of recent years has become an ever greater competitive disadvantage, especially for companies in rural areas. Remote work means that people far away from the company's location are once again part of the potential candidate pool.

The challenges of remote work

At the same time, however, there are also challenges that need to be overcome with regard to remote work.

  • Loneliness: The office is not only a place to work, but also to socialize with colleagues. One of the most frequently mentioned negative points of remote workers is social isolation during the working day. This is one of the reasons why co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Separation between work and leisure time: Working from anywhere, with the company laptop always with you - the separation between work and leisure time is becoming increasingly difficult. As a result, remote workers often feel even more stressed than people who mentally end their working day when they leave the company office.
  • Exchange of information: Clarifying problems at a colleague's desk, knowing what is happening in other departments - the office is also a place for exchanging information. Companies need to find processes for this that also enable a functioning flow of information between remote workers.

How companies promote remote work

Remote work will become increasingly important in the coming years. Companies should already ensure that they are optimally positioned for future developments.

1. create digital infrastructure

The most important prerequisite for remote work is an appropriate digital infrastructure in the company. 

  • Employees are equipped with the latest technology, enabling them to use modern information and communication technology.
  • The company network can be accessed securely from anywhere. This means that all information and documents are available regardless of time and place.
  • Tools for collaboration and communication (project management tools, video conferencing software, messenger programs, etc.) are established in the company and employees are trained to use them.

2. provide equipment

Remote work - home office equipment

An optimally equipped workplace is necessary to be able to work productively. This also applies to working outside the office. For employees working from home, companies provide the same high-quality office furniture such as desks and ergonomic office chairs and technical equipment such as laptops and monitors. This also enables them to comply with occupational health and safety regulations.

Find out more about how to set up home office workstations optimally here.

3. enable the use of co-working spaces

Not every employee feels that their own home is the ideal place to work. Co-working spaces are particularly popular in metropolitan regions. Permanent remote workers are also increasingly making use of them. Instead of equipping a workplace in the private sphere, companies can provide vouchers for the use of co-working spaces. Employees can use them to rent a desk at the location where they are currently working.

Effects on the office landscape

The way we work will also change the way offices are used and designed. Different scenarios are possible for the respective company.

Scenario 1: Decrease in office space used

Consequences of remote work - decline in office space

After years of rising demand, the real estate sector in particular fears a decline in the amount of office space required. This is because with fewer employees permanently on site, fewer jobs will be needed.

Scenario 2: Distribution of office space

Consequences of remote work - distribution across several offices

However, it is also conceivable that companies will not just offer one central office in the future. Instead, they will rent several offices and employees will choose the most convenient location for their work.

Scenario 3: Conversion of the existing office space

Restructuring of office space

At Lendis, we do not believe that the office will die out. On the contrary, we are convinced that it will continue to be an important point of contact for employees in the future. However, the office will primarily function as a central meeting place where people can talk to colleagues, plan projects and exchange ideas. Companies will provide appropriately designed areas for this purpose. Instead of workstations, the picture will be characterized by conference rooms, meeting points and lounge areas.

How Lendis can support you

Lendis can support you in different ways to set up your company optimally for remote work. Whether you need the right equipment for your employees working from home or you want to restructure your office and are looking for the right office equipment. 

We would like to find out more about your project! We would be happy to clarify how Lendis can support you in a non-binding discussion.