What does it mean to work in tandem

Mobile working: Difference to home office and advantages

As a freer model of location-independent work, mobile working has become a real alternative to the home office. But how do these two concepts differ from each other? What are the labor law requirements for mobile working and how do you finally implement it? Lots of questions, but don't worry: this article will give you all the answers and everything you need to know about mobile work.

Easily manage mobile working in Personio. Find out more about our absence function.

What is mobile working? The definition

Mobile working is a form of location-independent work. Employees who work on the move do not have a permanent workplace - neither in the office nor at home. They perform their work without the job being predetermined. So they can just as easily work from a café, a co-working space or a park.

What is the difference between mobile working and home office?

In contrast to mobile work, the place of work in the home office, also called teleworking in the law, is clearly defined: your own home. For this purpose, the employer will set up a permanent workplace that includes a laptop, screen, mouse, keyboard and even office equipment. This is regulated in the workplace ordinance. In the employment contract between employer and employee, it is specified what percentage of his weekly working hours the employee works in the home office and how much of the equipment the employer bears financially.

Mobile work is therefore a freer variant of work outside of the office. Because here the employee is not tied to a permanent job at home. There are currently no clear legal regulations for mobile working. Employers should at least provide the necessary work equipment such as laptop and screen so that the employee can work sensibly and productively.

Both when working from home and when working on the move, employees usually do not have a permanent workplace in the office. With both models, however, it depends on how often and for how long the employee works away from home.

Important: The Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Working Hours Act apply to both the home office and mobile work.

>> What are the differences in labor law between these two variants? This article gives you an overview.

Checklist: Implement remote work effectively

Whether mobile or home office: When employees work outside of the office, a lot has to be thought of. With this checklist that's no problem at all!

Do employees have the right to mobile working?

No, from a legal point of view there is no entitlement to mobile working. Many employers are still introducing mobile working as an additional service in their company. On the one hand, this benefits your employer brand and enables more flexibility for the employee. On the other hand, it gives them the chance to look for new employees across Germany or Europe, which considerably expands the pool of candidates.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

It always depends on the working methods, the culture and the teams whether mobile working is worthwhile for you. This list of advantages and disadvantages will help you make a decision that suits your business.

Advantages of mobile workingDisadvantages of mobile working
Increase in the work-life balance (since employees can organize their daily work according to their needs)Working too long and the associated overload
Improvement of the employer imageMixing of work and private life, which affects the work-life balance.
More flexibility for employeesWeakening of the team bond if there is no regular exchange between colleagues.
Increasing the motivation and sense of responsibility of employeesDifficulty in internal communication
Increase in employee satisfaction (e.g. through a better work-life balance)
Increase in motivation and loyalty to the company (through greater satisfaction)

What do you have to pay attention to (from a labor law perspective)?

Anyone who introduces mobile working must pay attention to a few aspects. These are, on the one hand, of a labor law nature and, on the other hand, related to cooperation.

Occupational safety: risk assessment and insurance

Occupational safety also comes into force when working on the move. Means: The employer must ensure that the employee is not exposed to any psychological or physical dangers. In the case of mobile work, this is difficult to implement for the employer because, in purely theoretical terms, he would have to check each individual workstation of the employee. It is therefore worthwhile to work with checklists that the employee goes through and then sends back to the employer, signed.

>> You can find out how to carry out a mental risk assessment in this article.

When it comes to insurance, there is still no clear case law. The future will show whether every “mobile workplace” is insured. Until then, employers can orientate themselves on the criteria of the case law on home office.

working hours

People who work outside of the office sometimes tend to work too much. Here it is important that the manager and employee coordinate well and define clear availability times.

The Working Hours Act also applies to mobile work, which states that employees are not allowed to work more than eight hours on weekdays and that a rest period of eleven hours must be observed between work units.

Equipment costs

When employees work on the move, employers are not obliged to pay all the costs for technical or office equipment, as there is no permanent workplace. In your own interest, however, you can give your employees equipment such as laptops, screens or keyboards so that they can carry out their work in the best possible way.


Data protection must also be observed when working on the move. This does not only apply to the collection and storage of the employee's personal data. All computer systems must also meet data protection requirements.

The consent to a right of access is usually associated with data protection. This allows the employer to come to the employee at an arbitrary time and check whether all agreed data protection guidelines are being adhered to. The right of access should be stipulated in a contract.

Company or service agreement

In the works or service agreement (in the public sector), a contract is concluded between the company and the works council, in which the rights and obligations of the employer, employee and works council are defined. It serves as the basis for mobile working and is usually only relevant for large companies.

Lecture: Mobile working from an employment law perspective

In this free Expert Talk, labor rights expert Dr. Philipp Raben from Osborne Clarke explains what you need to consider when introducing mobile working and gives you practical tips.


In order to simplify cross-location collaboration, your processes should run digitally. This includes both communication processes, e.g. B. via internal chats such as Slack or via video meetings such as Zoom, as well as interactive brainstorming and planning platforms such as Miro or digital project management via Asana, for example.

>> The best collaboration tools for efficient cross-location teamwork can be found in this article.

flow of information

When working on the move, make sure that all information and news get through to all employees. You can do this via an internal newsletter, the company chat or an internal wiki. The important thing is that it must be digitally stored and easy to find.

Is it possible to deduct mobile working from tax?

When working remotely, the employer does not have to pay the full cost of office equipment. But employees have the option of taxing part of the costs.

Important is: A work corner in the kitchen or living room is not enough to qualify as a workplace. It must be a separate room that is only set up and used for work purposes.

If employees work from home part of the time during mobile work, they can deduct a maximum of EUR 1,250 of office costs from tax annually.

How to establish mobile working in 4 steps

Mobile work involves a lot of administrative effort, after all, guidelines have to be defined, checklists drawn up and new contracts drawn up or expanded. These four steps will help you implement mobile working.

  • Clarify all legal bases, e.g. B. Specifications for data protection (something via a checklist), time recording, right of access or a revocation clause for mobile work, for example for operational reasons.
  • Define all rights and obligations of employers and employees, e.g. B. in relation to hardware.
  • Define when and how the employee should be available. For example, does he get a work cell phone or not.
  • Plan how often the manager will have conversations with the employee to discuss the status quo in terms of mood, motivation, and results.


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