Digitalization Bringing Family and Working Life into Harmony

  • International Day of Families on 15 May 2019
  • The majority of Germans are of the opinion: Digitalization makes it easier to reconcile family and career
  • Home office options and cloud-based services make employers more attractive

50.7 percent of Germans are convinced that digitalization will make it easier or even significantly easier to reconcile family and career. This was the finding of a survey conducted by eco – Association of the Internet Industry in cooperation with the opinion research institute Civey. Conferences or meetings, for example, can be held by video, independent of location; documents can be shared via screen sharing; and files can be accessed from anywhere via cloud-based services. “Digitalization is allowing us to reconfigure the interplay of work and family from the ground up – a situation that benefits both employees and employers,” says Lucia Falkenberg, Chief People Officer (CPO) and Leader of the New Work Competence Group in the eco Association.

Rigid attendance times are a thing of the past

The digitalized world of work is characterized by increasing connectivity and the use of mobile devices, not to mention being able to access information independent of time and place. All of this is producing unprecedented flexibility. Virtual project teams can use cloud solutions to access files and programs from anywhere and at any time, and can coordinate their collaboration digitally. This makes mere physical presence at the workplace less necessary in many industries and occupational fields. Fixed working hours and rigid attendance requirements are also becoming less important, a development which is benefiting families in particular. “Many people are specifically looking for fields of activity that promote the reconciliation of family and career,” says Falkenberg. While mothers are looking for opportunities that allow them to work longer hours – not least with an eye to their own financial security – fathers want to reduce their working hours or make them more flexible in order to have more time for family. “Employees today want to climb the career ladder without neglecting kith and kin. This can only succeed if employers play their part by offering flexible working hours, mobile working, or part-time models, with this in mind for managers as well,” says Falkenberg. Such models of working can be found particularly in digitalized enterprises.

Savings potential on the strength of family-friendly personnel policies

Family-friendly personnel measures pay off for employers. Companies that accommodate the wishes of mothers and fathers earn clear brownie points. Not only do such measures produce positive benefits for employer branding; they also enable employers to attract new groups of applicants, particularly mothers. At the same time, companies do not lose the know-how of long-standing employees who might shy away from returning from parental leave due to inflexible full-time and part-time models. In turn, mothers themselves benefit from digital training opportunities such as e-learning. Flexibility in everyday working life is not only a must for caring for your own children. Sometimes, employees need time to care for their own parents – so as to look after those who earlier cared for them.

Digital Workplace Strengthens Families