At the latest since the current debate about the “right to a home office”, flexible working models have been the subject of intense debate in companies. However, many companies fear security problems and declining productivity. Practice shows, however, that home offices increase productivity and German IT companies in particular offer both uncomplicated and secure solutions.
Not even that! This is what many companies are currently thinking about when it comes to the topic of “home office”. Since the draft law on the “right to a home office” by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil, the topic of flexible work from home has been the subject of lively discussion. Far from reality, utopian, anti-business – these are just some of the words that haunt the Internet. The emotions often boil over.
Many companies are still hesitant to switch to the home office. Companies not only fear that they will have to convert their entire IT systems. They are worried about data protection, a huge and stressful change from one day to the next and ultimately also about the declining productivity of their employees. What makes things even more difficult for many SMEs is that the “war chests” are more than empty in these turbulent times. How can you cope with all this at the same time?
The good news is that most of these concerns are unfounded. With the right system, the home office can be a useful, efficient and economical addition to any business.
Home office makes employees happier and more productive
The cliché that employees watch series on their home computer and chat on social media is unfortunately widespread. However, both practical experience and studies show time and again that these prejudices are not true. Many employees even have to make sure that they take enough breaks and leave work on time. According to the DAK study [german speaking source], 56 percent of the participants in the study stated that they were more productive in their home office. An older study by Stanford University even speaks of a measurable 13 percent [german speaking source] increase in productivity. However, only three out of ten large German companies [german speaking source] believe that their employees are more productive in their home office. So there is primarily a large psychological gap [german speaking source].
In fact, a remote platform simplifies many work processes and makes work more efficient, time-saving and pleasant. For example, instead of searching for information in folders or endless e-mail threads in the office, remote platforms enable fast access to information from any place and at any time. Of course, this requires a well-structured platform. However, the range of services in this area has grown enormously in recent years, so that there are tailor-made solutions for large and small companies alike that make mobile working more efficient.
This in turn also improves employee satisfaction in general. Who likes to spend their working day with annoying search queries and tedious processes? Satisfied employees are also more productive employees – not to mention loyalty.
In the latest International Workspace Survey, for example, companies reported that their operations increased productivity by 85 percent through the home office alone. The survey was conducted among 15,000 business people from 80 nations. These are therefore solid empirical values and not just isolated impressions.
Those who fear that employees are more distracted at home are also mistaken. In a survey of nearly 1,000 employees from companies in the U.S., it was found that office workers spent 66 minutes a day talking about things that had nothing to do with work. By comparison, home office workers spent only 29 minutes doing so. Extrapolated, this represents an average of around 2.5 hours per week of better-used working time in the home office.
Home office as a productivity killer is therefore a myth.
Cloud platforms provide secure access
It is still unclear how and in what form the “right to a home office” comes about. What is already clear, however, is that anyone offering work from a home office must ensure that data is appropriately secure. This applies both to access to sensitive data in the company and to its processing on employees’ home devices.
One solution that combines flexibility with security and data protection is Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings. Here, the provider provides a cloud environment. However, you retain full control over applications running on it and manage access rights. With low-code applications, you can also create applications or layouts independently and without major IT effort according to your own requirements.
Employees can thus easily access all important information via the cloud and thus work efficiently. At the same time, data sovereignty remains with you in the company.
As a low-code application, in particular, the PaaS system has several advantages. For one thing, low-code enables very simple integration of existing software via interfaces and connectors, so that you do not have to change your entire system.
On the other hand, as a company, you retain full control over your data. At the same time, such solutions ensure that no employee ever has access to unauthorized data via regulated user access rights.
Finally, PaaS solutions offer more security than many expect from a cloud platform. Especially with German providers, the encryption protocols are designed to meet the highest security requirements and secure server locations in Germany or within the EU are guaranteed. For both home office employees and companies, this protection means: carefree working.
Furthermore, cloud solutions are easier to scale than on-premise solutions and are also more cost-effective. In-house systems also require either a separate IT department for operation and maintenance or an external IT service, which is very cost-intensive, especially for small and medium-sized companies.
PaaS offerings are therefore the ideal solution if you want to look ahead digitally, maintain full control over your data, and at the same time keep an eye on costs in difficult economic times.
Choose the best solution, not the fastest
The home office indeed offers many advantages for companies and employees. It’s also true that companies can no longer ignore the issue and have to deal with flexible working models. What is wrong, however, is that you have to do it overnight in a hack.
Consciously take the time to examine different solutions for the individual requirements in your company. Is it just a matter of employees having to access company data records from home and being able to communicate digitally with colleagues and work on projects? Then a social intranet in the company is often enough.
If your business is more in the B2B area, a flexible extranet is sufficient to connect external business partners to important processes, such as delivery statuses or orders, regardless of their location.
In fact, for many companies, integration of an internal employee network and an external B2B platform already covers all home office needs.
Free offers promise quick and inexpensive solutions but should be thoroughly considered for long-term planning. After a few months of use, you may find that you want or need to use advanced functions that are only available through payment models at a premium price. Also, some of these platforms with server locations in countries such as the USA often do not offer the data protection required for German companies.
At the latest then you are faced with the dilemma that the team has gotten used to a platform and you either have to pay a premium price or switch to a new provider. It is therefore worth looking at various solutions – especially about the long-term effects. Some offerings may require a higher initial investment but offer significant savings in the long run.
When is it time for the home office? Now!
There is no way around the introduction of home offices in companies. Not only based on a possible upcoming law, but also for the attractiveness of your company. If you are already well-positioned now, you are on a good course. Ignoring the issue is not going to help in view of draft laws and the current coronavirus situation. As a company, you should therefore not put off the changeover for too long, but you should still consider suitable offers. After all, not only your employees but also your company will benefit from it.
Discuss it with us. Is a “right to a home office law” necessary, or should companies, out of their interest, already rely on a modern and mobile working environment? It is also clear that not every workplace is suitable for remote access. But experience shows that much more home office would be possible if the basic conditions were right.
As the saying goes: The best opportunity for a modern work infrastructure was ten years ago. The second-best opportunity is now.
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source: ©ra2studio – stock.adobe.com