According to a study, working outside the office with a PC, laptop or smartphone leads to more work, but can still make people happy.
Researchers at the employer-affiliated institute of the german economy (IW) in colonia have found that so-called mobile computer workers in germany most often have workdays of more than ten hours. The job satisfaction of these people is nevertheless high.
"The interesting thing is that these people have more autonomy, which means they have more sovereignty to decide: how do i work, when do i work, what do i work," said study author oliver stettes. Overall, this leads to a balance.
For example, about 63 percent of mobile computer workers said that they can take one to two hours off for personal matters during work without major complications. Computer workers are employees who spend at least a quarter of their time working with pcs, laptops and smartphones. All in all, that’s 55 percent of employees in germany across all occupational groups.
Critics, however, warn of the strain on employees caused by constant accessibility. A study by the university of st. Gallen points out, for example, that constant accessibility can put a strain on family life and health. IG metall warns that the legal limits on working hours must be preserved, even in the digital age.
Mobile working is one way of taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalization, says study author stettes. Whether they are used depends on the people and the company. "There is no difference in job satisfaction, which is very high in germany as well as so. There is an overall positive perception. Mobile computer workers also signal: this is good for me."
However, timo braun, an economist at the free university of berlin, does not believe that work will shift more to the private sphere. "With telecommuting, we saw back in the early nineties that it was only practical for companies in a very limited way," he says. "Digitization will spread more strongly to simple forms of work and production, for example to workers on the production line. For example, you can control and monitor machines using a tablet."
Braun sees potential for mobile working above all in large cities in the form of co-working spaces, where several people who are employed by different employers share one or more workplaces together.
According to the IW study, more than half of the employees work at least occasionally outside the company, mainly with customers. Above all, these are craftsmen, managers and academics. Only just under 8 percent work from home several times a month or more.
Among the 20 percent or so who work more often outside the office on a PC, laptop or smartphone, there are particularly large numbers of managers and employees in academic professions. In a european comparison, germany is in the middle of the pack. In denmark and sweden, more than three quarters of the workforce is mobile.
For the IW study "mobile working in germany and europe," the researchers analyzed data from the 2015 european working conditions survey. For this, more than 43,000 employed persons from 28 countries of the european union, the five candidate countries montenegro, serbia, turkey, albania, macedonia as well as switzerland and norway were interviewed. The IW analysis for germany was based on data from over 1,600 employees.