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Companies will continue to rely on remote working – competition for skilled workers becoming top subject

Neu-Isenburg, July 29 2021

Employees in various fields, especially IT, finance, and management, are likely to continue to work outside the office. But companies are also complaining of difficulties in coordinating, and even lower customer satisfaction.

Top managers estimate that a little over half of the work done at companies will continue to be completed from home or elsewhere rather than on company premises, even after the coronavirus pandemic. That is the result of a survey conducted by AirPlus International, which specializes in corporate payment, among about 750 board members and managing directors worldwide. On average, respondents said some 51 percent of companies’ work will be performed remotely in the future. Willingness to make the move is highest in the United States, standing at 57 percent on average, while the figure is lowest in China, at 43 percent. German businesses expect an average of 52 percent.

This means companies are planning to lower the amount of remote work only slightly from the levels seen during the pandemic. Previously, an average of 57 percent of work has been performed from outside the office, particularly from home, in an effort to minimize the risk of infection. In the future as well, remote work is to remain an important part of the working world, as more than three quarters of respondents (77 percent) confirmed. Among the fields where employees are most likely to be able to continue working from home, decision makers pointed especially to IT (41 percent) and finance and management (39 percent each). This was closely followed by marketing and communications (37 percent) and general administration, at 36 percent. The fields that company executives see as least suitable for working from elsewhere are production and production management (22 percent) and consulting, although the latter field still comes in at 28 percent.

Graphic with shares of which work activities continue to be performed remote

Mounting pressure to appeal to skilled workers

There are various reasons that flexible working will remain an important factor beyond just savings. The business sector is likely to be looking to what employees want here as well. Corporate decision makers, at least, view employee satisfaction and competition for skilled workers as the top subjects for the near future. Just under half of them expect these points to become important to them in the near future, followed by the ongoing shift to digital technologies and the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The flexibility of no longer having to work from the office is important for several reasons, not just when it comes to balancing work and family life. Companies are also likely to use this as a way to earn points with skilled workers who live farther away from work and prefer not to have a long commute every day.

Companies also feeling the disadvantages of mobile working

But working from home isn’t only advantageous, as companies have learned in the past few months. Of the top managers surveyed by AirPlus, 61 percent tell of processes that do not permit remote work at all due to lack of digital technologies. They have also noted obstacles and misunderstandings in people’s day-to-day work, with 59 percent complaining that these issues had been difficult to overcome due to lack of personal interaction. More than half also perceived lower productivity and even lower customer satisfaction. One surprising result was that 50 percent of the business leaders surveyed also felt that employee satisfaction was lower. This means hybrid models that offer the best of both worlds will be especially crucial in the future. Many companies are planning for shared days in the office for coordination and discussion purposes alongside periods of focused work from home, a step in this direction.

AirPlus surveyed a total of 743 top managers in Germany, the U.S., the UK, China, Italy, and France, including CEOs, CFOs, and heads of sales, for this survey in June.

About AirPlus International:

AirPlus International is a leading international provider of solutions in the corporate payment segment. 48,000 corporate customers rely on AirPlus when it comes to paying for and analyzing their business travel and other purchasing activities. The company’s products and services are marketed worldwide under the AirPlus International brand. AirPlus is an issuer under the UATP and Mastercard card schemes. The AirPlus company account is the most successful billing account within the UATP. For more information, visit

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