|German employers seek clues on the future of remote working |
Employers in Germany are coming to the conclusion that new "hybrid" forms of working may become the new normal, reports Deutsche Welle. Dirk Erlhöfer, the managing director of the Ruhr/Westfalen Employers' Association, a lobby group that represents 430 SMEs in the Ruhr Valley industrial heartland of Germany, says remote working has precipitated a better work-life balance that has in turn boosted productivity, and sick days have fallen significantly. Nevertheless, Erlhöfer identifies some novel obstacles presented by new working arrangements. "It is, for example, more difficult to coordinate processes between administration and production. Technical problems also come into play, and the gradual evolving of a kind of divided, two-class staff could disturb company peace." Deutsche Welle also reports on how German chemical giant BASF is developing a hybrid work model. Valeska Schößler, a BASF spokesperson, said the model does not impose binding rules for everyone. "We are giving our teams a larger degree of flexibility in organising their work," she said, also noting the limitations of such a model: "You cannot oversee a test run in a laboratory from home, nor can our plants be maintained and repaired remotely."