Rules for the new normal

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Tue 30th Nov, 2021

No financial support to set up a workstation, no contribution to additional heating and electricity costs - this is true for the vast majority of employees who did their job in the home office during the pandemic (91 percent). Nearly one in two home office workers (48 percent) also had to use personal devices to get their tasks done, their own laptop, cell phone or tablet.

These are the findings of the Index Gute Arbeit 2021, a representative survey conducted once a year by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). The report, which was published on Monday, deals with the working conditions in the Corona pandemic and its consequences for the job world of tomorrow - from the perspective of the employees. 6400 dependent employees were surveyed for this purpose from January to June. "The results are not only a stocktaking of an exceptional situation, they also show the requirements for shaping the work of the future," said DGB Chairman Reiner Hoffmann.

About one in three workers have worked from home very often since March 2020, according to the report, and one in twelve "often." Nearly one in three workers who could not work from home said they felt a very high or high degree of burden from infection control measures. Most notably, educators, secondary school teachers, and geriatric nurses said this.

The "new normal" is primarily digital

The advent of digital tools such as video conferencing, collaboration platforms and the home office have led to a "new normal," Hoffmann explained, but one that still needs to be regulated. "Beyond the crisis, there is a need for standards of good work, a strengthening of co-determination, and modern occupational health and safety for mobile working," Hoffman explained.

Company agreements lead to more co-determination

Because the survey also revealed that more than one in three employees who also did work at home (36 percent) said that their employer had no company agreements on home office. At employers who did have rules in place, employees had more influence on the organization of their working hours. They were less likely to have to be constantly available or work longer hours without pay.

Image by Andrea Toxiri


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