More than every second company in Germany wants to keep its employees working from home. This is the result of a study by the Munich Ifo Institute. 54 percent of the companies surveyed stated that they would continue to use home offices. "For many companies, the changeover entailed considerable investments in digital infrastructure and new communication technology," said the head of the Ifo Center for Industrial Economics and New Technologies, Oliver Falck. "In all likelihood, this reorganization of the work will not be completely reversed."

The study is based, among other things, on evaluating data from current Ifo company surveys and a member survey on LinkedIn. An evaluation of job advertisements and job seekers in the professional network shows that the job offers that are advertised for work in the home office have increased more than twice, said Falck.

"The fact that jobs will be completely transferred to the home office in the future should remain the exception," said Jean-Victor Alipour, co-author of the study. The lack of social contacts at home could be a permanent burden. Furthermore, creative exchange and the transfer of ideas and knowledge cannot be completely shifted to digital. It is therefore "more likely that hybrid work models will prevail between presence work and home office".

A study published last week gave a similar result. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization (IAO) in Stuttgart and the German Personnel Management Association (DGFP) asked the situation in around 500 companies for a mood picture. Almost half (42 percent) of the companies have already decided to expand their opportunities to work from home after the coronavirus crisis. An equally large proportion is still undecided, but hardly any company wants to go back to less home office.

Hessen proposes a tax flat rate for home offices

Hesse's finance minister Michael Boddenberg (CDU) has proposed tax relief for employees in the home office. Boddenberg suggested that employees should be able to claim their costs against a simple flat fee. For every full working day at home, five euros should be deductible as advertising costs - with an annual limit of 600 euros. Tax laws are the responsibility of the federal government. So far, he has not planned such relief for employees in the home office.

So far, it has been difficult for employees to get a job recognized by the tax office. There are strict requirements. Hesse's finance minister sees his proposal as a supplement to the existing regulations. Employees who fulfilled both the new flat rate and the traditional deduction for a study should ultimately be given the right to vote. On the other hand, a day in the home office cannot be used to cover travel expenses to the office.