People working from their home offices because of the coronavirus pandemic miss the opportunity to see each other and consult work tasks in person with colleagues, yet they do not go back to offices. So far, only between 7% and 15% of employees use the opportunity to work from the office. This comes from a survey by the ABSL association, which brings together companies from IT, business and digital services.
The low interest of employees in returning to company offices is also interesting in the context of the findings of a survey by Colliers, which is a strategic partner of ABSL. According to it, in almost half of the cases of people working from home they are bothered by the fact that they cannot separate work and private life well. However, the benefits that the home office offers are probably still winning.
“People work well from home, they don’t have to waste time commuting, they work at a time that suits them best and they have maximum support from employers,” says Jonathan Appleton, ABSL’s director.
This support does not only concern working know-how, but also, for example, equipment. Companies have lent all the necessary IT equipment to their people’s home offices, and in many cases even work desks or office chairs. All this undoubtedly contributed to the fact that a full 77% of companies in the field of business services, even at the time of a full home office, showed the same or even higher productivity.
“New normal” defined in one word
Employees perceived the full home office generally positively. “In our survey, we asked employees about their satisfaction and also about the keyword that, from their point of view, best defines the situation in which they found themselves at work due to the pandemic. The most common were very positive terms such as flexibility or opportunity, “says Jonathan Appleton. This may be one of the reasons why people are not in a hurry back to the offices.
Business services companies reopened their offices a few weeks ago, in the first phase for only a few tens of percent of employees. However, the offered capacity has not yet been filled at all.
“Employees can now go to offices in limited numbers and subject to distance, but most continue to use the opportunity to work from home. Currently, the occupancy rate of offices is between 10 – 15%, which corresponds to the general trend in the industry. The overall situation will definitely affect the form of work in the future, it is a current topic and its specific form is addressed at the global level, “says Lucie Kubizňáková from Johnson & Johnson.
SAP Services has a similar experience, enabling a maximum of 30% of employees to work from the office, especially those whose nature of work requires a physical presence in the office, or those who had a problem working from home. Currently, however, only 10% of the total number of 1,200 employees use this option.
Home office as a new standard
Because employees like the home offices and the style of remote work suits them, companies are slowly beginning to prepare for the situation that the majority home office will become a common standard. It addresses how to maintain the creative and innovative spirit of the team and how to maintain and develop the corporate culture even if employees work from home and meet minimally. For this reason, about half of the companies are considering the introduction of the so-called hybrid model, which will allow employees to work from home for three days, but prefer their presence at the company’s headquarters for two days. One third are considering new formats for virtual interactive meetings.
A more significant use of work from home will also affect the change in the main function of the corporate office. It can be expected that offices will cease to be a place of work that requires concentration, but on the contrary will become a space that supports the creativity of employees and the search for innovation. “The office will become a place of meeting, cooperation and exchange of information, a very lively place that will support interaction between employees. This trend was evident even before the Covid-19 period and the pandemic only accelerated it, “said Jana Vlková, Director of the Workplace Advisory Department at the Czech branch of Colliers International. Along with this change, there will be a much bigger say in sharing work desks, which so far only a very small percentage of companies use.