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Employees and employers disagree on workspace

Cost is key to management, but sufficient space is crucial for staff

PRAGUE Colliers International Czech Republic announces the results of its recently conducted workplace survey, in which both employers and employees in the Czech Republic indicated their preferences and priorities regarding office environment and work space.

Both men and women of all ages picked having sufficient personal space to work in (81.9 percent) out of 18 criteria to choose from as the most important physical aspect in creating the ideal office environment, according to the latest research1 from global property advisers Colliers International. Employers of all types consider the cost of the space as by far the most important criterion (88.2 percent) out of eight criteria to choose from.

“The workplace plays a significant role in our everyday lives, as we spend the majority of our time at work; it influences our productivity and motivation. The market has progressed enormously on this front; workplaces continue to change to meet the new challenges of HR developments,” said Omar Sattar, General Manager of Colliers International, Czech Republic.

“In the 1970’s, a cellular office plan layout was dominant. In the 1980’s, the market witnessed a major change when office design shifted toward larger floor plates using higher efficiency, thus a higher density of people could be accommodated. In the 2000’s, thanks to the advancement in various technologies, the market moved into a period where sustainable offices and collaborative space, e.g. hot desking, designated group or focused work areas and ʻgreenʼ offices, have come into vogue,” Sattar said.

“In the coming years we will see new trends in workplace preferences evolving as Generation Y becomes dominant and employers will have to adapt. For example technological advancements, such as cloud computing, will enable mobile working, which in itself directly impacts how a company interacts with its space. If some of your employees do not need to be in the office all of the time, then the amount of space you need is less and how the actual interior of the space is arranged is important,” Satar said.

Key outcomes from the Colliers International survey on the ideal workplace among Czech employees and employers are as follows:

Employees

More women (86.5 percent) than men (77.4 percent) picked the aspect of sufficient personal space to work in, which tended to become more important the older the person is (77.9 percent of 18-26 year olds, rising to 90.0 percent of 45-53 year olds).

The second most important aspect was “natural daylight at desk/ability to see the outside from where you sit”, picked by 73.3 percent of employees surveyed. Again, this was viewed by both men and women as important (70.9 percent men versus 75.8 percent women), with older employees rating it more important than younger ones.

“Windows that are openable/closable in the office area” was the third most important aspect, picked by 65.0 percent of those employees surveyed. More women (75.0 percent) than men (55.1 percent) considered this important.

The fourth most important criterion for Czech employees is to have their work place located 30 minutes of travel time by private car or by public transport from their home, which was supported by 58.9 percent of respondents. Fifth most important is to have the opportunity to work from home, picked by 52.4 percent of Czech employees.

So-called breakout or relaxing areas and cafes, as well as showers, bike racks, and access to green outside areas were picked by around 20 percent of Czech employees, with more men than women deeming this important.

On the flip side, open plan offices are not very popular among Czech employees, with just 7 percent stating that they would like to work in such offices. Czech employees by far prefer to work in individual or shared offices (38.5 percent). More men (10.9 percent) are willing to work in open plan offices than women (3.1 percent). Also Czechs are not big fans of hot-desking and work flexibility with different work places when they arrive into their work, with just 7.6 percent picking this as an important aspect.

“Many of those surveyed tended not to select open plan offices as a preferred way of working, which is understandable when you look at this concept in isolation as people often complain of noise or distraction in open plan offices. However, new working spatial arrangements nowadays accommodate private areas or rooms that can be used when focus or high levels of concentration are required and open layout arrangements for say when group or team project work is being undertaken. Giving people the choice means they are less likely to be resistant to working in the open plan areas within the office,” Sattar said.

Employers

The cost of the space in terms of rent, service charges and operating costs was considered less important by young employers (50.0 percent of 18-26 year olds) than older employers (92.6 percent of 27-35 year olds and 36-44 year olds), though by all employers regardless of gender or location in the Czech Republic.

The second most important aspect was “ability to park employee/company cars at the building” at 65.5 percent. This was considered less important in the capital Prague (45.0 percent), which has good public transport, than in the regions (Moravia 72.2 percent and Bohemia 68.5 percent).

The third most important aspect among Czech employers according to the survey is distance from metro/tram stations (no more than 10 minutes to the work place); it was chosen by 58.2 percent of all correspondents.

Public amenities such as shops, restaurants, doctors or fitness centres are key for 28.2 percent of Czech employers. Equally important (17.3 percent) are the following aspects: design of interior space of the workplace to suit younger Generation Y employees; offices that can accommodate open plan space layout for desk and work-style arrangements; office space or office building that meets international standards of environmental sustainability.

The least important aspect picked by Czech employers was the provision of breakout areas, games rooms, and relaxation and brainstorming areas, with this criterion selected by just 8.2 percent.

Colliers International is a global leader in commercial real estate services, with over 15,800 professionals operating out of more than 485 offices in 63 countries.

A subsidiary of FirstService Corporation, Colliers International delivers a full range of services to real estate users, owners and investors worldwide, including global corporate solutions, brokerage, property and asset management, hotel investment sales and consulting, valuation, consulting and appraisal services, mortgage banking and insightful research.

The latest annual survey by the Lipsey Company ranked Colliers International as the second-most recognized commercial real estate firm in the world.

Colliers International has been active in the Czech market since 1994.

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