The coronavirus pandemic subsides with the coming summer, and with it the need for predominant work from home. However, the labor market and the way we do work have undergone a number of changes over the last two years. These are now changing into more lasting principles, adapted to the long-term visions and needs of companies and their employees. CBRE, a world leader in commercial real estate services, has recently conducted an extensive survey of nearly 200 companies in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa), including the Czech Republic, to map current attitudes toward different working model options. The results show a clear trend of the hybrid form of work, where respondents consider at least 50% of the working week spent in the office to be an ideal situation.

Most companies expect to return to offices in various forms

According to the survey, 68% of companies expect people to return to regular office work in the second half of the year, of which almost a quarter of them are already doing so. Naturally, however, there are significant differences between sectors: almost 80% of financial companies strive for a stable presence of their employees in the workplace by the end of the semester. In contrast, more than a third of technology and IT companies allow the process to move at its own pace without specifying a precise time frame.

"From the data obtained, we see that employers are gradually trying to motivate their employees to gradually return to the offices. However, most of them (70%) do not insist on returning immediately and for the entire working time. A total of 35% of companies require part-time attendance and the same amount leaves the choice of scheme to the discretion of their employees. Only 6% of companies require employees to return to the office permanently, "comments Simon Orr, Director of Advisory & Transactions - Offices at CBRE.

The hybrid model of work is not just a fad. But finding a working model can be difficult

A clear majority of companies (72%) say they are moving towards a "hybrid workplace" model, in which employees have a choice but in line with internal guidelines. This is significantly more than last year (at that time it was 55%). In more than half of the cases of companies preferring the hybrid model (specifically 56%), this is a system introduced at the initiative of the company's management. Only 10% of respondents follow a conservative approach, in which going to the office is a priority.

"The situation seems clear at first glance. For many companies, however, it is still a test of how such an office will work. Although the hybrid model of work is not a new trend in principle, it has never been introduced as widely as it is today. And each company treated him a little differently. Over half of the respondents (56%) chose the path of formal politics and clearly define their rules. However, the rest (44%) leave the decision on the share of work in the offices either to individual employees or, with the adoption of clearly defined rules, still waiting to see how their people will behave themselves. The current settings of the working model may not be permanent for individual companies and may change over time, ”adds Simon Orr.

Another issue discussed by employers is how should the hybrid model work in practice to work from home vs. the work from the office was properly and efficiently balanced. How much autonomy to leave for employees to take into account corporate identity and operational needs. A total of 51% of companies consider it ideal that the ratio of work from home to office is half and half. 38% of respondents prefer most of the time spent at the workplace, which is a significant decrease compared to last year (when it was 50%); however, it is still a significant proportion. Remaining in the "home office" as the dominant form of work remains unpopular among respondents - it is preferred by only 12% of companies.

Post-pandemic offices: healthy and tailored to current requirements

However, Covid-19 did not only bring increased tolerance to teleworking into office life. He also changed the overall view of how people approach work and the work environment. Respondents want to place more emphasis on adaptability (45%), health and wellness (41%) as well as interior redesign or renovation (39%). More than a quarter of respondents also said they were more careful in concluding long-term leases - a greater degree of flexibility was more important than ever for companies themselves. On the other hand, a total of 18% of companies are considering relocating to better premises. The good news is that despite the difficult conditions during the pandemic and the current difficult economic and geopolitical situation, 41% of companies expect to expand and expand their premises in the coming years.

"Companies have started to think more about the internal environment, its functions and distribution, and they are already incorporating it into their strategy. The need to expand or modify the shared space for cooperation has increased the most, which is considered crucial by a total of 63% of respondents (compared to 36% last year). Half of the companies also plan to reconsider their current spatial standards, and in the case of large companies this trend is even more pronounced in both cases. "