The Association of Business Service Leaders in Romania (ABSL) conducted a study in February-April on the post-pandemic working methods adopted by companies in the industry, for the period 2022-2023. 49% of the companies surveyed stated that the biggest post-pandemic challenges are related to employee engagement and motivation, as well as finding ways to get them to return to the office.
According to the ABSL study, the number of employees who want to work only from the office is less than 15% in about 90% of the companies in the industry. 60% of participating companies say that between 50% to 100% of their employees prefer the hybrid way of working. Of these, most will work from the office 2 days a week (37% of companies will require this for employees working in hybrid format) or 3 days a week (27% of companies).
The days when employees work from the office are determined as follows:
- by the employees in 30% of cases
- by the team leader – 25%
- by the management – 30%
- by the customers – 15%
The top three categories of employees who prefer to work from home are those who have young children or those who care for other family members, as well as those who waste too much time in traffic or commuting, but also those who work in IT and software development.
Part of the employees with young children are also in the top of those who want to work only from the office (to be able to concentrate better), along with the juniors in the company or new employees, but also those who need to work with colleagues in other departments.
“About 60% of companies in the industry plan to return to the office through a period of readjustment, in which any employee can come to the office when he wants and without a mandatory number of days. Gradually, however, the percentage of those who will work from the office will increase and very clear rules will begin to appear. In determining the way of working (home, hybrid or office) companies will take into account the type of activity performed, experience, performance, team size, type of project, but also the preferences of employees and customers. The study showed that all the services provided by our industry can be done in hybrid format, so this way of working will continue after the end of the pandemic. As for the clients, only 9% of them request that the services be provided by the employees who work from the office ”, says Ciprian Dan, President of ABSL.
26% of responding companies accept that, exceptionally or in accordance with certain rules (for example, a maximum number of days / year), their employees work from another country. However, 64% of companies view work from anywhere as the activity carried out only in Romania, from a location other than the one in which they are based. However, these employees will have to come to the office regularly.
“About 70% of ABSL member companies reported that employee productivity is higher now compared to 2020, while 25% reported productivity similar to that before the pandemic. More than half of the companies have noticed changes in the reasons why employees are satisfied or dissatisfied at work. Most of them appreciate the fact that they have the opportunity to work from home and have found a balance between work and personal life, but for others this way of working has led to an increase in overtime. To meet the needs of employees, 71% of companies have implemented a flexible work schedule. However, the biggest challenge for companies in our industry remains the motivation and engagement of employees, with 28% of companies putting this issue first. Another important aspect is the need to be present at the office to train future leaders. In most cases, they have to practice direct interaction in order to learn to lead teams in a competent way “, says Cătălin Iorgulescu, Vice-President of ABSL.
Over 50% of respondents say that in the last 4 months the rate of attrition from the company has increased and that they are trying to compensate for this with salaries and benefit packages, but also competitive wellbeing, as well as career development and internal mobility programs.
54% of the surveyed companies consider that this year the employees who fully match the job description are more difficult to find and therefore require an additional period of training.
The ABSL study also reveals a profile of candidates in 2022: they appreciate flexibility, have very high salary expectations and lots of other demands (benefits, etc.), are more interested in the work-life balance, want to know how they can grow in the company, prefer to work from home.
Over 74% of companies have expanded the recruitment process across the country, offering different teleworking solutions. Last year, 35% of the companies participating in the study recruited 5% of new employees outside their office-based location, 24% of the companies hired between 6% – 10% of new employees coming from other locations, while 21% of companies employed between 11% and 25% of new people coming from outside their location.
66% of the companies participating in the ABSL study mention that they have adapted the office space (or will do so in the next period) to the particularities of the new way of working. The office facilitates communication and interaction (more relaxation areas, more meeting and socializing spaces).
The study was conducted by ABSL between February and April 2022, with the participation of 45 companies in Romania with a total number of 32,000 employees.