Flexible working, the new currency for attracting and retaining top talent
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78% of professionals and managers want to be able to do individual brain work requiring concentration from home and 56% of them want to do creative work from home. The extent to which senior executives value flexibility in the workplace is also indicated by the fact that one respondent in ten would be willing to accept a pay cut in exchange for increased remote working opportunities.
The second edition of the Antal and Cushman & Wakefield report entitled “Flexibility of professionals and managers in the labour market” describes trends in, among others, the flexibility of professionals and managers in terms of working hours, workplaces, but also the specific job roles.
We have entered, in a sense, exceptional times when for the first time in history we can decide on the style of work, depending on its nature or specific tasks to be performed. There are also countless new opportunities, including access to expertise located anywhere in the world. 41% of respondents do not work in the office at all, while almost every third professional returned to work in a hybrid model, combining work from the office with remote working. Employers who want to retain the best employees – now and in the future – will have to put the concept of flexible working in the first place, and build their business strategy around it – says Artur Skiba, President of the Board at Antal.
Employees who were offered a choice of when, where and how they worked were more satisfied with their jobs, achieved better results and perceived their company as more innovative than the company’s competitors who did not offer such a choice – comments Magdalena Stańczuk, Senior Workplace Strategy Consultant at Cushman & Wakefield.
Broken work-life balance
Over 30% of professionals and managers feel that they work more than they did before the pandemic and have difficulty to define the boundary between work and leisure time. At the same time, more than half of the respondents feel that they work as much as before the pandemic and also devote the same amount of time to personal development. 67% of those working in IT and telecommunications say that the amount of their workload has not changed. On the other hand, every fifth respondent from the real estate and construction industry says that they currently work less than before the pandemic.
According to Antal’s Salary Report from March 2021, lawyers benefited the most from the pandemic. Their average monthly salary amounted to PLN 12,742 gross. A very good year for both law firms and in-house lawyers was attributable to the economic situation, i.e. changes in tax law and labour law. It may be related to the fact that 75% of professionals and managers representing law firms believe that they work more than before and it is not easy for them to separate work and leisure, comments Agnieszka Tymoszyk, Senior Client Manager at Antal.
Which tasks are performed more efficiently from home and which from the office?
The issue of remote working has divided managers and corporate employees into two almost equally important groups. The first group argues that it is the work from home that gives higher efficiency. The opposite group believes that the real work is in the office and if they cannot see their employees, it means that they are not working. 88% of respondents believe that employers should offer more opportunities for remote working and 86% of respondents believe that offices should be more flexible and provide a quick change of workplace for employees, depending on the tasks at hand.
When it comes to meetings, professionals and managers by far prefer the office to their home or another location from which they could connect online. Survey respondents note the need to build engagement through face-to-face interactions, especially in case of team brainstorming (59%), external meetings with a potential client (57%) and internal meetings within the company (56%). When it comes to individual brain work requiring concentration and creative work, respondents prefer to perform their duties from home – 78% and 56% respectively.
There are countless arguments both for and against remote working, and teleworking has as many opponents as supporters. However, the study “Flexibility of professionals and managers in times of change” clearly shows that combining home and office work is the future. Most Warsaw companies are already implementing the 3-2 work scheme which means that, depending on the company, employees work 2 days at home and 3 in the office, or the other way round – comments Dominika Kowalska, Associate, Workplace Strategy, Office Department, Cushman & Wakefield. Some companies do not designate a permanent workplace at all, you can work exclusively remotely. These scenarios mean that more and more office workers (who can work regardless of their location) will want flexibility in this area – she adds.
The plans to reduce the number of permanent workstations is accompanied by the need to increase the number of meeting rooms, places for individual work, as well as for informal meetings – says Kacper Remiśko, Associate, Office Department, Cushman & Wakefield.
Video conferencing as an important aspect of organising the working day
Among the outcomes of the pandemic is the increased importance and frequency of video conferencing. Half of professionals and managers state that they spend less than 5 hours per week on online meetings. 25% of them spend between 6 and 10 hours per week and 11% of those surveyed spend between 11 and 15 hours on video conferencing. More than half of those surveyed believe that the number of virtual meetings per week is adequate, while more than 20% professionals believe there are too many such meetings.
As we welcomed the new year 2021, business executives were aware that the remote working system is something that will undoubtedly stay with us for longer, and that it is necessary to continue with the implementation of tools and solutions and the organisations’ digital transformation in order to make remote working streamlined and smooth. Among many such tools, there are applications and software programs that facilitate online meetings.
Time spent on video conferencing affects the work organisation and reduces the number of hours spent on other tasks during the day. Employers should properly select the number of video calls and the time of day for video conferencing, so that employees do not feel tired. It is worth taking care of proper training of a candidate on the workplace ergonomics and the use of such tools, necessary rest and meal breaks, so that the online meetings are as effective as the in-person ones – comments Karolina Bucka, Team Leader, Antal, IT Services. According to Professor Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, spending hours on video chat platforms has psychological consequences. Both the amount of eye contact we make in video chats and the size of the faces on screen is unnatural. On top of this, aspects such as the view of ourselves during real-time video chats or the amount of remotely captured information and stimuli is exhausting, she adds.
About the survey
The Antal and Cushman & Wakefield’s survey entitled “Flexibility of professionals and managers in the labour market” was conducted using the CAWI method on a sample of 1,384 professionals and managers in Q2 2021. The report is available at: