German Companies Ease into Hybrid Work Models

Many of the largest enterprises in Germany have introduced hybrid work options for some of their employees as they emerge from COVID-19 work-from-home mandates, according to a new report published by Information Services Group (ISG).

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ Future of Work – Services and Solutions report for Germany finds many industry heavyweights listed on the DAX stock exchange are allowing some employees to work three days per week at home and two days in the office. The adoption of hybrid work varies by industry, with banking, finance and IT leading the way and manufacturing lagging behind. Typically, only senior managerial positions are eligible, the report says.

Many German enterprises have not changed underlying work processes that make it difficult to get work done outside the office, ISG says. For example, there may be gaps in digitalization, such as still requiring documents to be printed before they can be signed off. In some cases, employees who work at home are not treated as equals, which can exacerbate the already high mental and work-related stress they experience.

“While more flexible work modes are on the rise globally, working at least part-time in an office is still important in many German companies,” said Andrea Spiegelhoff, partner, ISG EMEA, based in Germany. “The gradual changes taking place in these companies present new opportunities for managed service providers to support the transition to hybrid models.”

In Germany, as in other countries, the pandemic has brought workplace and work-related technologies to the forefront as vital business enablers, ISG says. Service providers around the globe are moving beyond the traditional practice of supporting end-user computing elements to become cross-industry experts offering strategy, consulting and transformation services.

Many German clients of managed service providers have deepened their engagements in terms of consulting and strategic-level discussions around workplace transformation, which in turn has led German providers to expand their consulting teams, according to ISG.

While more German clients are seeking managed digital workplace services to become more attractive employers, some companies and employees hold on to older ways of working, the report says. While more are using portals and chat to resolve support incidents rather than relying on phone calls, workers still report the highest satisfaction with in-person walk-ins for support, which raises challenges as work-from-home models shift to hybrid arrangements.

In addition, many service provider clients have provided virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to more users to cope with the pandemic, but most continue to operate VDI on premises rather than take a public cloud desktop-as-a-service approach, ISG says. However, as public clouds gain acceptance, more companies are considering making the shift to the cloud.

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ Future of Work – Services and Solutions report for Germany evaluates the capabilities of 32 providers across three quadrants: Workplace Strategy Transformation Services, Managed Employee Experience Services and Managed Digital Workplace Services.

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ Future of Work – Services and Solutions report for Germany is available to subscribers or for one-time purchase on this webpage.