Home office an effective tool in the fight against covid and in increasing satisfaction
With the worsening epidemiological situation, the office industry recommends employees to return to work from home. Already during September, 72% of employees of business, customer and IT services centers used the home office permanently, now their share is around 90%, similar to the situation in spring 2020 or 2021. Regardless of the pandemic, 71% of centers plan to permanently set up a regular two to four days home office in the future, mainly based on the demand and satisfaction of employees, as presented by the latest ABSL survey.
Even though in summer most companies allowed a gradual return to corporate offices after the spring wave of the pandemic, employees did not rush back too much. On average, only 15% of office capacity was filled. According to ABSL survey, 72% of employees from business, customer and IT services worked from home permanently in September, 19% 2 to 4 days a week and only 9% used the company office every day.
“Due to the rapid growth of covid cases in the Czech Republic, employers in our sector have stopped inviting their people to work from offices again and, on the contrary, are recommending them to work from home, if it is possible from the job description point of view. More than 90% of our employees now work from home again,” says Jonathan Appleton, Director of ABSL. According to him, in this way, employers have significantly contributed to reducing the spread of the epidemic both in 2020 and this spring. Record growth of covid cases have forced them to use this helpful tool again.
“Although our offices are open at 30% capacity, our employees did not use it even during the quiet time in summer. On average, we had a maximum of 15% of colleagues in our offices. We now recommend working from home to all employees whose job description allows it. From Monday, we only allow the vaccinated or those who have recently experienced covid to enter the offices. Others must prove themselves by a test. Globally, it was decided that people can work from home until June next year,“ says Lenka Pospíšilová, HR Business Partner at SAP Services.
A similar voice can be heard from other companies too, for example from Pure Storage’s research and development center: Given the alarming growth in COVID numbers in the Czech Republic, we recommend to our people working from home. We keep our office open in a safe COVID manner to allow those employees, who are unable to work from home due to their home setup, work from the office,” says Jacob Ringler, head of the center.
A tool in the fight against covid and in increasing satisfaction
The home office model has proven not only to be a good weapon in the fight against the pandemic, but also a tool to increase employee satisfaction. For example, according to a study by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, up to 95% of managers are satisfied with the operation of work from home and 85% of employees wish to have some opportunity to work from home in the future. 58% consider it a significant benefit. Most respondents see 16 or 20 hours a week as an ideal range of work from home. As many as 40% of employees believe that they are even more efficient at home.
“The coronavirus epidemic has triggered major changes in the use of work from home, which have a lasting impact on everyday workplace dynamics,” says Jonathan Appleton, adding that according to the current ABSL survey, 71% of business services companies plan to set up a regular home office four days a week after the coronavirus pandemic. 12% of employers would like to offer a full home office in the future and 14% would apply flexibility according to employees’ preferences.
For example, Novartis has come up with a unique project that focuses on the future work model. The project, called Reimagine Workplace, is based on employees` feedback and combines office space with an emphasis on new technologies enabling quality remote collaboration and program called Choice with Responsibility, an innovative and very open approach in providing flexibility to employees who work together. They can decide how their team will work, including whether they want to work from home or office. Among other things, employees can work from abroad for 2 months in a period of 12 months during their private trip. The project not only increased employee satisfaction but was also awarded with an ABSL Diamond Award.
ABSL (Association of Business Service Leaders in the Czech Republic) is an organization of companies operating in the segment of shared business services, which represents a strong source of employment in the Czech Republic. ABSL was established in 2013 with the aim of supporting companies in the field of business services, sharing best practices and helping to develop the activities of its members and other entities operating in this segment. At the same time, ABSL provides support to foreign investors who want to set up their business service centers in the Czech Republic. At present, there are around 350 centers in the Czech Republic employing nearly 145,000 people. More information can be found at www.absl.cz.