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7 surprising facts about hybrid work in Germany


September 13, 2021


June 15, 2023

YouGov presents the latest results of its online study 2021 "HYBRID WORKING MODELS IN GERMAN COMPANIES". On behalf of HIRSCHTEC, YouGov surveyed 508 employees on how they want to work after the pandemic - hybrid, in the office and / or with the option to add home office days. YouGov found that hybrid working is more popular than ever, however many German companies are still struggling to implement it. Furthermore, the study yields new insights into where hybrid working is most prevalent in Germany, what can be improved in terms of implementation and redesign, and what people miss most in the home office.

7 facts about hybrid work in Germany

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Working from home

1. More hybrid work in Northern and Western Germany

In the North and West of Germany, employees are more often able to switch to a hybrid work model or work hybrid. For instance, the study found that in the Western states (Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia) and in the Northern regions (Hamburg, Bremen, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein), 30 percent of companies have a hybrid working model. In contrast, this is only possible for 20 percent of employees from Eastern and Southern Germany

As a possible reason, YouGov states that industry is more pronounced in the south of Germany. In the automotive industry, for example, employees are needed on site for production, as their manual work does not allow them to work hybrid, i.e., part-time from home.

2. Education increases chance of working hybrid

Looking at the educational level of employees, 44 percent of hybrid employees have a high school diploma or a university degree. In terms of people with a secondary school degree, the figure is only 22 percent. YouGov attributes this difference to the fact that manual jobs, such as in production, are often filled by employees with secondary school degrees or lower. 

3. Medium-sized and large companies offer more flexibility

When medium to large companies (100-1,000 employees) are compared to smaller companies (1-99 people), twice as many respondents (36 percent) are able to work hybrid.

Team meeting in the office
Team meeting in the office

Larger companies increasingly recognize the potential and benefits of the hybrid work model, which provides flexibility to employees while saving money. For example, space can be used more efficiently, and electricity and water consumption in office buildings can be decreased.

4. Small talk is not just small talk

All respondents stated that they miss personal contact with their colleagues when working from home, e.g., chats during the lunch break. Above all, there is a lack of personal exchange and a sense of community. Companies should therefore not interpret chats in the hallway or at the coffee machine as unproductive interruptions. This exchange of ideas is often undervalued, although it is precisely through this that new ideas can arise and at the same time the team spirit is strengthened.

5.Men miss the office more often than women

Women are more outgoing and socialize strongly outside of work, whereas men in turn rely more often on professional networks. As a result, they miss the office more than women to maintain their social contacts. 

Colleagues working together
Colleagues working together

6. Digital fitness needs training

The participants of the study indicated that digital tools for managing hybrid work are provided but poorly explained. Simply introducing a digital workplace is not enough. Employees should be introduced to the programs and tools and their functions and applications should be explained in a targeted and competent manner. This not only increases the digital competence of the employees, but also improves their digital fitness.

7. Too many hierarchies, too little integration

Employees are often excluded from the planning process of a hybrid work model, even though fulfilling their needs is essential for productivity, retention and employee satisfaction. Only 30 percent of respondents said they were fully integrated, with one in four even feeling left out completely.

The age of hybrid working employees was particularly striking. It was the 45-year-olds who, due to their usually higher position in companies, are able to use the hybrid working model more often than average. Companies that want to have a productive and flexible work culture in the long term should offer employees from all levels the opportunity to play a greater role in shaping hybrid work. In concrete terms, this means loosening internal hierarchies.

YouGov concludes that a hybrid work model can succeed especially if companies undertake a transformation. Through meaningful change, the potential of the digital workplace can be improved and corporate culture can be positively shaped. In this way, companies can "combine the best of presence and remote work." In concrete terms, this means that hybrid work must be anchored as part of the corporate culture.

Thus, the YouGov study revealed that employees want to be actively involved in planning the hybrid work model. They also value an informative introduction to digital tools and personal contact. So what can companies do? Companies can provide their employees with digital tools to constantly work on their digital fitness. Furthermore, the relationship among employees can be strengthened through digital lunch breaks or the provision of coworking spaces. Through networking and the simultaneous involvement of employees in the design of work, a win-win situation can arise for all parties involved.

➡️ Learn with our free Hybrid work ebook how to set up your hybrid office using the BIRD-Framework.