Office workers expect support in terms of mental health

Press release 12/3/2021 12:00 PM CET

According to Skanska’s third survey* conducted in CEE on attitudes towards working in offices, a hybrid working model is preferred in the face of the pandemic, more than half of people already work only from the office and employees expect being supported regarding their mental health and wellbeing. Social and professional relationships, and the onboarding of new colleagues are highly influenced by time spent in the office. When there, workers prefer extra office activities such as massages, shared meals, meeting interesting people and offsite events.

Skanska has conducted another study in four CEE countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania) to evaluate the attitude of workers towards working at home and in the office in the context of the pandemic. Among surveyed countries more than half of respondents claimed they work only from the office (52%). The number of such office workers increased compared to May '21. A hybrid model with office work dominating preferences, but every third employee claims that the employer imposes the exact schedule with limited possibility of change. The study also identified bright side of home office reality such as positive impact on life-work balance of the respondents.

Hybrid Work

The fear of contracting a virus in the office is gaining importance, but the long commute to the office is less often a barrier than in May. The third of Hungarian  office workers are free to decide about days to work at home and in the office. In May, most Hungarians (30%) preferred a working schedule of 3-4 days in the office and 1-2 days at home, but now only 25% think so and 27% would like to work only 1-2 days in the office and the rest of the week at home.

Effects of Home Office

Limited working days in the office have a significant negative impact in all  countries on aspects such as the integration of new employees (44%), social and professional relationships between employees (41%), teamworking (37%), involvement in after-hours company activities and recruitment of new employees (37%).

Among the measured aspects, home office has definitely positive impact on work-life balance. This aspect is the most important for Hungarians, 54% of them have this sentiment, and 51% think they have very good conditions to work from home. Hungarians also think in the highest percentage that home office has a positive effect on their creativity (54%) and mental health (50%). To Hungarians, overwhelm (22%) can be the hardest at home. There is a rising need to consider and implement solutions in offices that help to save time during a workday.

Mental health is more important than ever

The vast majority of office workers claim that mental health support should be offered to office workers. Employers should pay particular attention to mental health and create an office workplace adjusted to their needs, Hungarians prefer this solution most, 84% think it should be available. Paid leave in case of professional burnout and free individual meetings with a psychologist are most desired from employers to support mental health of office workers and Hungarians would also prefer training on mental health.

Role of Work-related Activities

Work-related activities are now less often organized by employers than before the pandemic, but almost half of office workers expect extra amenities in the office. Meeting interesting people, massages, shared meals in the office and offsite events are most encouraging in terms of visiting the office more often. 60% of Hungarians would prefer massages and shared meals, 57% meeting interesting people and 52% offsite events with accommodation. Office workers can be also encouraged to work at the office by different form of free meals. Well stocked kitchen and co-financing of meals in the form of pre-paid card are most desired options.

We conduct studies like this to be able to see changes in employees’ expectations towards offices and to help our tenants and partners meet them. Our research shows that some have become part of our office life already, and in the meantime some trends are changing significantly, so we have to be flexible and react efficently. Offices are important hubs for businesses and they need to evolve. Being futureproof means not only that offices have to be safe, but inspiring, too. It is also interesting - and understandable - that mental health became such a priority for the people. Companies will have to address that, as soon as possible.”  - said Károly Katkó, Director of Leasing and Asset Management of Skanska’s commercial development business unit in Hungary.

Fear of contracting a virus in the office is gaining importance – ¼ of employees in CEE. The results show that high sanitary standards, i.e. certificates like Well Health & Safety Rating, can encourage working in the offices, while lack of them causes fear of contracting the virus.

About the study:

*The study was conducted by the research and analytical company Zymetria on behalf of Skanska, the biggest office developer in Europe. As part of the quantitative online survey using the CAWI method, responses were collected from 2,000 office workers between the age of 25 and 65, living in large cities in four countries – Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic.