Employees working from home welcome saving time and money, but they lack social interaction, study says

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The saving of money and time spent in traffic are the main advantages considered by the employees of office buildings that are currently working from home, while the disadvantages mentioned are the lack of direct socialization with the colleagues, in the first place, followed by the difficulty in separating professional from personal time, secondly, results in a survey conducted by the real estate consulting company Cushman & Wakefield Echinox.

The study was applied online via a questionnaire to more than 200 employees who normally work from the office, but have been working from home in the last weeks, as part of the social distancing measures adopted to limit the spread of Covid-19. The respondents have an average age of 36 years and work mainly in Bucharest (88%), in various sectors of activity, such as professional services (24%), financial (18%), real estate (17%) or technology and telecommunications (13%). On average, respondents performed their activity at home for 15 working days before completing the questionnaire.

80% of the respondents appreciate saving the time spent in traffic, a considerable advantage in the context in which, on average, the employees in Bucharest have a commuting time between home and office of about 45 minutes on a regular day, according to a study performed last year by Cushman & Wakefield Echinox. The following advantages are considered to be financial savings (for 49% of the respondents), the improvement work-life balance (43%), more freedom to manage working hours (40%), as well as the extra rest time (33 %).

On the other hand, the biggest disadvantage is the lack of direct socialization with colleagues, mentioned by 74% of the respondents, followed by the difficulties in separating the time dedicated to the professional activity and the personal one (44%), the lack of a proper space to work (33%) and the diminished capacity to focus, due to disturbing factors in the house (33%). Other issues reported are related to difficulties in managing the relation with clients and collaborators (29%), technical issues (26%) and lack of direct feedback on the activity performed (24%).

In this context, there is a certain balance in terms of the general description of the work from home experience. Thus, 38% of the respondents consider this period as very good or excellent, 34% good, while for 28% of them the work from home time is unsatisfactory or even frustrating. Moreover, the option of working exclusively from home after the activity restriction ending period is preferred by only 3% of the respondents, most of them opting for a flexible program of 4 work from the office days and 1 from home (39% of respondents) or 3 days at the office and 2 at home (27%). On average, the employees interviewed would choose, if they had the opportunity, to work 3.4 days from the office and 1.6 days from home.

Mădălina Cojocaru, Partner Office Agency Cushman & Wakefield Echinox: “The current context has determined companies to take radical measures to protect the health of their employees and limit the spread of Covid-19, therefore about 80 – 90% of the employees working in office buildings are currently working from home. This massive migration comes with both advantages and disadvantages, which must be seen from the perspective of a temporary and somehow mandatory nature of these measures. It is encouraging that many activities belonging to the services sector were able to be continued from home, thus avoiding blocking an additional number of companies. However, we consider a mixed solutions future, where the office continues to have priority, as it doesn’t represent only the physical space, but also a place where people socialize and collaborate, which also reflects the values ​​and culture of each organization.”

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