Working from home survey: Employees miss the human aspects of their regular offices

Aurel Constantin 18/05/2020 | 13:03

During the COVID-19 lockdown, CBRE, leader in the real estate consultancy market, has conducted a large-scale study about working from home experience by asking a total of 1,200 employees in Romania, the CEE and SEE regions. What the respondents miss most are the communication with colleagues, the clear separation between work and leisure time and seeing others work around them, as indicates the CEE & SEE Working from Home launched by CBRE Research.

The average rate of persons working from home is 3.9 percent from total employment volume, meaning approx. 9 million employees, considering the Eurostat data for the countries part of CEE & SEE regions that answered the CBRE Research survey. The country with the largest share of persons familiarised with working from home is Austria, 9.9 percent from total employed persons, in opposition with countries such as Bulgaria and Romania where rates of 0.5 percent and 0.8 percent are encountered.

“It is interesting to notice that even if Austria has the largest share of persons familiarised with working from home before the COVID-19 situation, almost 80 percent of the respondents confront with the lack of the work-life balance. The office space as we know it will be more clearly envisioned as a separator of work and personal life and the place to meet with colleagues and business partners as these two aspects were the most missed by the respondents. Greater prevalence of working from home policies does not translate into occupiers taking less space,” stated Andreas Ridder, Managing Director, CEE, CBRE.

Compared to the regular office routine, 64 percent of the over 1,200 respondents from CEE and SEE regions miss the chats with working mates, feeling isolated and 61 percent have trouble establish a clear separation between work and home, struggling with work-life balance. Around 55 percent suffer not seeing other faces while 51 percent miss in person meetings and 43 percent mention launches with colleagues as one of top things missed about the workplace environment.

Future of work in Romania

In Romania, working from home will not be an option for 33 percent of the responders versus 38 percent which intend to ask to work from home at least once a week, shows the CBRE Research survey. According to the official data our country has the smallest rate of working from home, below 1 percent. The fact that only around 7 percent of respondents would reject the employer’s desire for more home office use could further increase both the attractiveness and space efficiency of workplace concepts.

“The possibility to work from home for more employees might challenge companies to reshape the workplace in order to make it more attractive and efficient blending new concepts such as hot desking and activity-based working, making history the pre-lockdown layout trends. Thus, we estimate for the next 12 to 24 months that the demand for office reconfigurations to grow considering the new legislation and the physical presence at the office,” said Razvan Iorgu, Managing Director, CBRE Romania.

The working behaviour will definitely change, the workplace will be adjusted, companies will introduce new regulations and even though the percentage of employees working from home will grow, one must not forget that we are social human beings and need interaction as well as a balance between work and personal life, are the conclusions of CEE & SEE Working from home survey launched by CBRE.

The survey took place in several CEE and SEE countries for approximately one month, in April, during the lockdown period and carried among 1,200 employees. 49 percent of the respondents occasionally worked from home and 90 percent of the respondents consider wi-fi connection and laptop the most important features for working from home. At the end of the CEE & SEE Working from Home survey, all the participants found out if they are a Rookie or a Superstar at working from home.

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