Telecommuting: Best practices during COVID-19 and beyond
Prof. Dr. Petra Nieken & Prof. Dr. Alexander Mädche
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During the global corona pandemic almost every second employee in Germany worked from home, mainly driven by regulatory requirements and, above all, infection control. Yet telework was anything but new and was already being applied by large companies with detailed regulations. For a successful introduction of telework in practice, the theory promises significant productivity gains of 20 percent and more if employees are evaluated according to their individual productivity. In practice, however, this is not applied because it can quickly create a feeling of unfairness and as a result reduced employee satisfaction. It is more purposeful to give employees flexibility in their decisions and that they receive support from their superiors for a good work-life balance. Telework is also more advantageous for creative tasks, where flexibility in when the work is done plays a role. For more monotonous tasks, on the other hand, peer pressure effects promote higher productivity in the office. However, there is no evidence in practice that this classification actually happens. Though, according to surveys, it is likely that telework will gain in popularity after the end of the pandemic due to the reduction of reservations about telework, better than expected experiences, and investments in human and physical capital.