eco Survey Reveals: 85 Percent of the German Workforce Values the Opportunities of Mobile Working

  • eco: Crisis also as opportunity – Digitalization offers multiple options for virtual teamwork
  • In the near future, around one third of the German workforce will opt more and more for videoconferences with customers and colleagues

The crisis triggered by the current global Covid-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions on travel and personal mobility mean that more and more companies and employers are opting where possible for virtual and decentralized forms of teamwork. In this context, digitalization offers many opportunities and tools.

The majority of employees are now in favor of the digitalization of work processes. This is the finding of a representative survey carried out in the past few days by the opinion research institute Civey on behalf of eco – Association of the Internet Industry, with the survey involving approx. 2,500 employees across all German industries. The vast majority (over 85 percent) of those surveyed are in favor of the option of working from home, where jobs allow for this.

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Every third person is taking part in more videoconferences

“Technology skepticism is a thing of the past: We are now getting to witness first-hand more and more concrete positive examples of the digitalization of the economy and society. Very concrete experiences are unfolding. These include the possibilities that home office can offer in times of crisis, made possible by digital technologies and by the nationwide availability of high-performance Internet,” says eco Managing Director Alexander Rabe.

“These experiences are likely to lead to a more rapid digital transformation of society and the economy in the long term and will radically increase acceptance of this transformation among the general public and a great number of SMEs. Many companies are now switching to home office – even those that viewed this as infeasible for many years. In this time, the Internet has become the central tool for interaction and is currently keeping economic and social life up and running.”

Around a third of the workforce (32.6 percent) say that they will increasingly avail of videoconferencing to communicate with customers and colleagues in the near future. Over 20 percent want to use more tools for online project work in teams. Roughly 10 percent are increasingly focusing on digital training and development opportunities, such as those offered by the eco Academy with its regular webinar program.

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Home office: Employers should develop long-term strategies

However, the sudden switch to home office is also posing challenges for many companies. “Companies should proceed by asking themselves just what they want to achieve with a virtual working environment,” says Jens Weller, Managing Director of toplink GmbH: “There are solutions that can be quickly availed of which allow companies that suddenly have lots of employees working in home office to remain operational. However, even in times of crisis, managers should take the time to think ahead in order to create long-term improvements for their own company.”

Weller recommends solutions that are available as a distributed service from the cloud. The foremost consideration in the selection process should be user-friendliness. Here, what counts is not having as many features as possible, but rather being able to easily use the essentials of the service on offer.

Despite all the advantages, around 40 percent (38.4 percent) of the workforce do not visualize an increased use of any form of virtual working with the truth being that many jobs cannot be virtualized.

Online conferences are an option

According to the Civey survey, online conferences with up to 500 employees are regarded as a good option for 8.5 percent in the current situation. “If the alternative is to completely cancel a trade fair or event, then running a virtual event is better than having none at all,” says Weller. But at the present moment, finding formats that can completely replace conferences and trade fairs is still difficult. Nonetheless, the need for appropriate solutions is there, and is now set to grow significantly. No matter what: the eco Association offers the reassurance that there is no need to worry that bottlenecks in online resources will crop up at any time.

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