A survey of employees in CEE by Nordic property giant Skanska has revealed that nearly half of office workers in Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic are currently attending offices every day, and have developed specific preferences regarding their workplace.
These include a quiet space and high office standards (e.g. safety, relaxation, working in open air), the most frequently indicated key factors in the region motivating people to work from the office.
The new study, completed by research firm Zmetria on behalf of Skanska, collected responses from 2,000 office workers living in large cities in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary. Its main aim was to gather data concerning the perspective of employees in terms of their workspace conditions and thus, the future of office spaces.
Top choice: hybrid model with office work dominating
The survey shows that the working from home (WFH) is not an ideal solution in the eyes of employees when it comes to CEE in general – there are more people who would prefer to work only from the office in comparison to those who prefer only WFH.
The most likely evolution in the region will be a hybrid model dominated by office-based work. Every second respondent (51%) when asked for their ideal working model said that they would like to work in the office at least 3-4 days a week. This trend is especially visible in the Czech Republic (56%) and Poland (52%).
Offices need to offer more than before
The necessity to switch to WFH has naturally changed the daily routine for many people. The most advantageous aspects of remote work include the ease of organising family life (51%), good working conditions (48%), and saving time on commuting to the office (45%).
Consequently, in the post-pandemic era offices will have to offer more than before – they should be 'better, more comfortable and interesting than what we find at home', according to Arkadiusz Rudzki, executive vice president for leasing & sales at Skanska commercial development business unit in CEE.
Survey responses indicated that workers are looking for a quiet workplace allowing concentration (31%). Other crucial aspects include high standards (29%) and the possibility to work in a closed room in the office, i.e. not an open space (25%). Moreover, among the top three indicators of an ideal office are: very good IT equipment (mentioned by 34% of the respondents), proper lightning (32%), food service with high-quality meals (29%), and individual rooms for work (28%).
Rudzki added: 'These expectations will transform the approach to managing office buildings with a growing focus on hospitality aspects. Therefore, we are heading towards high quality spaces with maximum flexibility as only the most outstanding buildings will be able to attract companies and fulfil their needs.
'What’s more, we will be observing the growing importance of additional solutions, such as concierge services in the buildings – something that a few years ago was perceived as a novelty and a big distinguishing factor on the market, will soon become a standard.'
The study also confirms the great importance of safety issues. The results show that high sanitary standards can encourage working in the offices, while lack of them causes fear of contracting the virus. Daily disinfection of the office (41%), lower population density (37%) and non-contact solutions (37%) are the main factors that would positively affect employees’ sense of safety in the office.