Gastronomy and retail are suffering: the trend towards home offices is costing billions

Gastronomy and retail suffer
Home office trend costs billions

30 percent of Germany’s employees currently work from home. The management consultancy PWC has calculated the effects on the gross domestic product: The economy is missing out on sales of 15 billion euros this year alone.

The home office effect could reduce the German gross domestic product by 15 billion euros this year, according to the management consultancy PWC. The reduced expenses of office workers hit the catering trade, stationary retail trade and local public transport particularly hard, explained the PwC financial experts. Around 30 percent of employees in Germany currently work at home instead of in the office. They would spend less money on commuting to work, having lunch in a restaurant, shopping in the office district or on the way to work, and on entertainment. As a result, the sectors directly affected will lose 5.7 billion euros in sales.

In addition, there are indirect effects such as the lower energy consumption of restaurants. This leads to an economic decline of 4.1 billion euros. The reduced purchasing power of the employees in the affected industries hit with 5.1 billion euros. The result is a decline in gross domestic product by an expected 14.9 billion euros or 0.3 percent, according to the PwC analysis “Economic impact of Covid-19 induced home office”.

The gross value added from passenger transport, tourism, travel providers, hotels and restaurants fell by a third in 2020, it said. It is unlikely to recover to pre-crisis levels until 2022. After a decline of 8.6 percent in the previous year, gross value added in stationary retail is likely to increase by 4 percent this year. “A similar picture emerges in the entertainment industry,” wrote the PwC analysts.

Flexible working models are likely to prevail in the future. “It can be assumed that many companies will rely on hybrid solutions with a view to the transfer of knowledge and the cohesion of the workforce. This means that sectors that are dependent on office operations can hope for a recovery in sales in the medium term,” said PwC project manager Thorben Wegner.