Friday and Monday is the day to work from home, according to a recent survey by the Munich Ifo Institute.
Somehow you could have guessed it already. But now it’s official: “Friday is the most common home office day in 55% of companies, ahead of Monday with 35%. In contrast, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the most common days for employees who work from home some of the time,” says Ifo researcher Simon Krause. This pattern can be seen in all sectors of the economy and in small, medium-sized and large companies, albeit at different levels.
The Ifo Institute notes that many offices are empty on Fridays in particular in companies with a high home office rate. The underlying survey was conducted among more than 9,000 companies in Germany in October 2023.
The average figures conceal interesting differences. Across all sectors of the economy, around 64% of companies use home offices, especially in large companies. Industry and service providers offer this option more frequently than trade and construction. Friday is the main home office day for 66% of industrial companies and 58% of service providers, while this proportion is only around 28% in the retail and construction sectors. As the survey allowed multiple answers, the shares of days add up to more than 100%.
Danger for city centers
“From a scientific point of view, a structured hybrid working model – i.e. a combination of in-person and home office days – best combines the interests of companies and employees,” adds Krause. In this working model, creative teamwork, meetings and mentoring would primarily take place on the days spent in the office, while the days spent working from home would be used for concentrated and undisturbed work.
Employees benefit from more flexibility and less commuting on home office days, while companies achieve consistent productivity and higher employee retention. “The office is evolving from a place of work to a place of personal exchange,” continues Krause. In some companies, there are no longer any fixed desks and empty workstations are becoming meeting rooms and lounges. This allows companies to reduce their space requirements and save costs. Although the decline in demand for office space is having an impact on the real estate market, it is being somewhat mitigated by hybrid models with fixed attendance days. Irrespective of this, Ifo researcher Simon Krause concludes: “In cities, the lower office use is hitting city centers with high office density particularly hard, which are also suffering from lower retail sales due to home offices.”