News Article CEE coronavirus office Skanska
by Property Forum | Report

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the model of work around the world, attitudes on this matter are still visibly evolving – since the first wave of the lockdown until today the number of people working only from the office has increased by 26%. Almost half of employees go to the office every day, despite over 60% of respondents claiming that they do have comfortable working conditions at home. Employees in all surveyed countries indicated the ability to maintain a work-life balance and have direct conversations with co-workers as the biggest advantages of working in the office. These are only some of the conclusions drawn from a study conducted on behalf of Skanska office development unit in CEE.

The study focuses on four countries in Central and Eastern Europe – Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary. Its main aim was to analyze the current situation concerning work models on the labor market in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results show how the perspective of employees has changed in the past twelve months and confirm that most of them are willing to get back to their offices.

Work-life balance as the most important aspect

As it turns out, when asked about the biggest disadvantages of working from home, respondents have mentioned the inability to maintain a healthy work-life balance – this was admitted by more than 40% of workers from the surveyed countries. Another major difficulty indicated by employees is limited social life and monotony – the possibility of discussing various matters with colleagues face to face seems to be an extremely important aspect, especially for Hungarian and Romanian workers. Moreover, one in four people complained about the lack of office equipment and the increased costs of maintaining their home.

The study confirms that working from an office has clearly more advantages in the eyes of the respondents. Here, again, the separation of work and home life comes into play as the major factor for nearly half of the employees – a result which additionally emphasizes the great importance of that area on today’s labor market. Having the possibility to work in a different place other than one’s home helps create a natural platform between work duties and private life. The second most frequently mentioned advantage of working in the office is being able to talk to co-workers directly – stated by 44% of respondents. Access to office equipment came third on the list of positive aspects of office work in the eyes of employees.

Employees agree: safety matters

Despite the ongoing pandemic, offices are still considered safe by the employees, which is confirmed by 2/3 of all office workers from the surveyed countries. Poland, however, takes first place in this case, as more than 70% of Polish respondents agree with this statement. It is also worth mentioning that nearly 60% of respondents in general indicate that safety certificates, such as the WELL Health-Safety Rating, have a positive impact on their sense of security at work. The highest results were noted for Romania and Poland (64% and 61%, respectively).

Working in the office = higher effectiveness

The study confirms that working in an office is viewed by employees as more productive - only 20% of respondents prefer working from home. This tendency is especially true for those who work on a team, as they more often believe that working from home is less effective (54% vs. 39% of the total). Hungarian workers seem to be least dissatisfied with the quality of their work when working from home.

“Despite the pandemic we can clearly see the undeniably important role of the office space in the working life of many people. This concerns not only technical aspects like direct access to equipment or the ability to discuss various matters with co-workers face to face. As it can be seen, above all, working from the office is a natural way for the employees to set and maintain a healthy line between their career and private life. Thus, the possibility to go to the office is a valuable part of everyday life, enabling workers to keep up their effectiveness, creativity and satisfaction from work, which constitute key factors. We are glad that people still perceive offices as safe, and certificates like the WELL Health-Safety Rating, which we have received for our 8 properties in CEE, strengthen this confidence,” comments Arkadiusz Rudzki, Executive Vice President for Leasing & Sales at Skanska commercial development business unit in CEE.

The study was conducted by the research and analytical company Zymetria on behalf of Skanska, the biggest office developer in Europe. As part of the quantitative online survey using the CAWI method, responses were collected from 1,200 office workers in four countries – Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary.