According to Skanska’s survey, nowadays, nearly half of office workers in CEE countries go to the office every day, and now they have specific preferences regarding their workplace. These include a quiet space and high office standards (e.g. safety, relaxation, working in open air) which are most frequently indicated key factors in the region that motivate people to work from the office.
The study presents an analysis of employees’ answers in four countries in Central and Eastern Europe – Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania. Its main aim was to gather data concerning, among others, the perspective of the employees in terms of their workspace conditions and thus, the future of office spaces.
Office work is still preferred
The survey shows that the home office 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 home office. Nowadays, nearly half of all employees work in the office every day (48%). As it turns out, however, the region is heading towards a hybrid model with office work dominating – 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.
Offices need to offer more than before
The necessity to switch to home office has naturally changed the way of daily routine for many people. The most advantageous aspects of remote work include the ease of organizing family life, good working conditions and saving time on commuting to the office. Most employees said that the home office allows them to organize their family life easier (51%). The second most important factor that CEE respondents appreciate in remote work are good conditions at home (48%) and thirdly they mention saving time as a result of not having to commute to the office (45%).
– The pandemic has somehow outlined the future of office spaces and the evolving needs of the employees. We can see that people still prefer going to the offices, as more than half of the respondents claim they would like to work in the office nearly full-time. However, in the post-pandemic era offices will have to offer more than before – they should be better, more comfortable and interesting than what we have at home, says Arkadiusz Rudzki, Executive Vice President for Leasing & Sales at Skanska commercial development business unit in CEE.
Desired office: comfort, safety and good IT connection
Considering answers from Hungary, the most important motivator to work in the offices is a quiet workplace allowing concentration. Another attractive factor for Hungarians is a canteen at the employer’s expense and a well-stocked kitchen. Hungarian office workers are highly appreciative of the access to free parking, among all surveyed nations, they mentioned the topic the most often. 40% of Hungarian respondents consider a long commute to work to be the strongest barrier between them and the office. Reducing costs related to travel or promoting alternative means of transportation can be a game changer in Hungary. In all four CEE countries the top four indicators of an ideal office are very good IT equipment (34%), proper lightning (32%), food service with high-quality meals (29%) and individual rooms for work (28%).
– These expectations will transform the approach to managing office buildings with a growing focus on the 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. This includes providing various types of spaces, e.g. a quiet place for work which requires concentration, spaces dedicated to creative work or simply socializing with the team, and services in the building – also directly on occupiers' premises – such as cafeterias, gaming rooms, yoga or Pilates classes. 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, adds Arkadiusz Rudzki.
– More than half of employees would like to spend at least 3 days a week in the office. The desire to be in the office is mainly due to the possibility of working in peace and quiet. If we gave all office employees the opportunity to work in a high-standard building, they would most appreciate access to high-class IT equipment, professional lighting that does not tire the eyes and access to restaurants with healthy food. Among the features of an ideal office, employees also mention rooms for exclusive work and green areas around the office enabling both work and rest, says Małgorzata Głos, partner in the research and analytical company Zymetria.
The study also confirms the great importance of safety issues. However, the results show that only 23% of Hungarians are worried about getting infected at the workplace. Regarding the whole CEE region, 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 security in the offices. To dispel such fears and to support their tenants, Skanska has implemented the Care For Life Office Concept, which was designed to answer today’s needs of office space users - as regards both comfort and safety. Special focus is on air quality, touch-free solutions, space planning consultancy, and updated facility management procedures. This way the users of Skanska's buildings can come back to a safe and inspiring environment.
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