Survey: People Returning to Offices, But Pre-COVID Times Won’t Return

People in Prague are returning to work in offices, but interest in them will not reach pre-COVID levels when they were occupied on average at 70%. According to a survey by Savills, occupancy of offices in the Czech capital has risen by 16% to 54% from June to February. This is the most significant increase among European capital cities. Representatives of Scott.Weber Workspace and CBRE companies said that dividing work between the office and home is becoming common.

The use of offices has been growing in the past six months, according to Pavel Novák from Savills CZ&SK, but it is still far from the pre-pandemic level. “It is not clear when and if we will get there. This naturally favors operators of serviced offices, who offer offices based on the actual use of workspace,” Novák said.

Filip Muška, a specialist in work environments at real estate consulting company CBRE, perceives a desire to return to offices on the market. He believes that regular meetings in the office make great sense and have undisputed advantages for a healthy company. However, the manner of enforcement, such as setting limits, for example, on three or more days of office work per week, can be a problem.

“Regardless of the workload, abilities, or duties of individuals. It may cause some employees, who have become accustomed to regular work from home and know how to deal with it effectively, to feel misunderstood or lose their freedom,” Muška said.

Adam Zvada, owner of Scott.Weber Workspace, which operates flexible offices, coworking spaces, and event venues, said a hybrid work model is standard. An employee is at home for a few days and in the office for a few days, and more and more companies realize that it is also beneficial for them. Of course, this applies to positions that can be done from home, Zvada said.

Zvada said that according to studies, interest in flexible offices and coworking centers will triple by 2030. Muška from CBRE pointed out that managing hybrid working teams puts demands primarily on managers, and he expects the next few months will be about finding balance. “For most companies, it will stabilize 50% of the time in the office and 50% of the time working from home or wherever,” Muška estimated.

Daily office visits are highest in Prague from Monday to Wednesday, at 56-57%. It drops to 54% on Thursday, and on Friday, it reaches 49%. However, according to Savills’ survey, it is higher than the European average. The European average on Friday is around 45% occupancy.