German Social Collaboration Study 2023

Between desire and reality - companies are in the midst of digitizing the workplace


  • About half of office employees want to work in the office and half remotely 
  • Need for flexibility similarly high from Generation Z to baby boomers 
  • Digital workplace increases chances of retaining and attracting employees 

One year after Corona, many job advertisements emphasize the possibility of home offices, and hybrid working methods have become established - or so you would think. But the German Social Collaboration Study 2023 by Campana & Schott and the Technical University of Darmstadt shows that companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are not yet as far along as they thought. For example, only one in three companies has largely completed the introduction of the digital workplace. In just as many, corresponding projects are at least underway. The remaining third, on the other hand, is only in the planning phase or has no plans yet. Accordingly, companies are in the midst of digitization. 

Positive employee experience through digitization

Looking at corporate culture, however, there is still a gap between wish and reality. The difference is particularly large in transparent communication (5.98 to 4.46), continuing education (5.81 to 4.76) and the corporate vision (5.45 to 4.56). In all areas, a digital workplace improves scores for satisfaction with the status quo. 

Desire and reality among information workers

The study distinguishes between employees who work mainly at a computer (information workers) and those who do not perform their work primarily at a computer (for example, in manufacturing and production: frontline workers). Of information workers, 34 percent want to work about half of their time in the office and half remotely, 32 percent mostly remotely, and 11 percent mostly in the office. Only 7 percent want to work entirely in the office, but only 16 percent want to work entirely remotely. There are no major differences between genders or generations.  

The needs for flexibility seem to be similar from Generation Z to the baby boomers. The reality shows a different picture: 16 percent work entirely in the office and 22 percent work predominantly in the office. At the same time, they appreciate the advantages of hybrid and remote work, such as better work-life balance (76.3%) and personal well-being (59%).  

Catch-up needed beyond the desk

Frontline workers often can't work hybrid because their work processes are location-based, but the benefits of the digital workplace are showing up for them as well. The average progress of the digital workplace here is 2.45 on a scale of 1 to 4, which is lower than for information workers (2.95).
In particular, frontline workers' sense of well-being increases quite sharply as the digital workplace progresses.  In addition, more than 86 percent of frontline workers agree that transparent corporate communications and executives serving as role models are important to increase attractiveness as an employer.  

Companies benefit from the digital workplace

According to the study, companies can also benefit from the digital workplace in a variety of ways. In particular, it promotes collaboration and communication across the boundaries of different teams and departments (5.04 on a scale of 1 to 7). It also represents a decisive competitive advantage in attracting new employees and retaining existing ones. The digital workplace also helps to make better decisions, drive exchange of innovative ideas and promote agility in the company.