The workplace in the home office
Many people are currently working from home again. Some like to do so, others work at home by necessity. Working at home is popular because many homeworkers find good conditions for concentrated work there. 29% of employees in Germany therefore want to work at home as often as possible, even after the Corona pandemic. Others are looking forward to a quick return. Our fact-check shows the advantages and disadvantages of working from home and what speaks more in favour of working in the office.
Teleworking vs. mobile working?
Those who work in a home office relocate the office to their homes. At least that would be the literal meaning of the term. Normally, this means teleworking. Mostly, however, the term home office is used if only occasional work in the home environment is meant. Then it is mobile working. Good working conditions should exist in both cases.
Setting up the home office
The workplace within the four walls of the home must fit into the existing premises, that much is clear. At the same time, it must also be functional and safe. This also means not making any compromises with regard to one's own health. What should be taken into account depends, among other things, on the amount of work to be done at home. Anyone who only reads a mail now and then should pay attention to data security first and foremost. Anyone who regularly works for a few hours in a home office needs a workplace that meets the basic rules of ergonomic workplace design.
The German SARS CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance (Corona-ArbSchV) came into force on 27 January 2021.Part of the regulation is the obligation for employers to offer their employees in the case of office work or comparable activities to carry out these activities in their home, at least as long as there are no compelling operational reasons to the contrary. The regulation is valid for a limited period until 15.03.2021. Beyond that, there is no legal entitlement to work in a home office in Germany. However, an entitlement could arise from collective agreements or works agreements. If this is not the case, employers and employees can make individual agreements.
The Institute for Work and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IAG) has created a CHECK-UP for the home office workplace. Employees can use this to assess their working conditions in the home office. Employers can use the CHECK-UP as a basis for the risk assessment of home office workplaces.
Accidents that occur during a legally insured activity are usually occupational accidents. This applies regardless of the place where the work is carried out, including the home office. However, not every activity during working hours is also a job-related activity. In the home office, it is therefore often difficult to distinguish between them. Relevant judgements state that going to the kitchen is not insured by the accident insurance funds of the professional associations. On the other hand, those who check why their WLAN network is on strike are insured even if the router is located in a room away from the actual workplace.
Transferring the operational standards for IT security to domestic workplaces often involves greater effort. Nevertheless, companies should determine which communication tools can be used at home, which documents may be taken along and how access to sensitive data by third parties can be prevented.