The current situation forces us to face many changes and challenges, both personal and professional life. The COVID-19 has officially reached ‘pandemic’ status and one of the options on how to avoid potentially spreading the virus and minimize employee exposure is remote work. In the past few weeks, we are witnesses of a sudden global transition to long-distance work.

Some employees are working from home for the first time, some are already experienced. However, all of us had to get used to new conditions from day to day. What do we miss the most and what do we appreciate when working from home? What are the benefits and challenges of remote working? 

To answer these questions, CBRE 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 employees miss about the office?

The aspects respondents from CEE and SEE regions missed the most are balanced work-life equilibrium and meeting with colleagues and business partners. For example, even if Austria has the largest share of persons familiarized with working from home before the COVID-19 situation, almost 80% of the respondents confront the lack of work-life balance now.

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

working from home_1
Source: CBRE CEE & SEE Working from home survey, 2020

How respondents evaluate working from home?

On the other hand, most respondents evaluate working from home positively (a total of 73% of the employees). The main reason is greater flexibility, which was mentioned by 54% of all respondents. As many as 41% of people said that the home office gives them a feeling of freedom, which results from better control over the organization of their own time. 36% of respondents have more space to spend free time with their family and loved ones due to a change in work arrangement, 31% of respondents got more time for themselves and their interests. The chart below shows overall results from the CEE and SEE countries.

working from home_2
Source: CBRE CEE & SEE Working from home survey, 2020

How is home office in the Czech Republic?

Our research reveals that in the Czech Republic, working from home will not be an option for 34% of the respondents versus 34% which intend to ask to work from home at least once a week and 16% even twice a week. However, it is interesting that the mentioned two days a week are the maximum for most employees. Only 3% of respondents would prefer three or more days. This fact would reject the employer's desire for more home office use could further increase both the attractiveness and space efficiency of workplace concepts.

Only 2% of respondents would reject the employer's demand to increase home office working hours. This fact brings opportunity to innovate workplace concepts and make the working space more efficient and attractive.

who_two graphs_900x326
Source: CBRE CEE & SEE Working from home survey, 2020

Final thoughts

These results show that companies are likely to continue to use the home office to a larger extent. They will 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 will grow considering the new legislation and the physical presence at the office. Every single company is planning a new operational process, redesign of its space to ensure a safe and continuous circulation flow while keeping the required safe physical distance between the desks.

The working behavior will definitely change, 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.