By Jakub Zielinski, head of Workplace Strategy & Change Management, and Mateusz Polkowski, head of Research & Consultancy, JLL


The results of the latest JLL research show that 64% of office workers in Poland spend up to two days a week in the office. Despite the growing popularity of remote working, 55% consider the office to be an essential part of a company’s culture and over 60% stress the importance of live meetings with colleagues. This is indicative of the changing role of the office, which is becoming a place of collaboration, creativity and employee wellbeing.

2.4 days is the average office attendance among Polish employees

In Poland, in line with European trends, hybrid working models are very popular among companies. Examples include the two-three model (two days in the office, three days at home) or the three-two model (three days in the office, two days at home). While these models are widely accepted as the standard for hybrid working, they significantly affect the organisation of the company and its office space. JLL’s survey found that only 25% of employers require their teams to be in the office two or three days a week. Surprisingly, 20% of employees surveyed indicated that they have full flexibility in their choice of workspace.

In the private sector, the highest number of days on site, an average of three per week – is spent by employees in the wider property industry. At the bottom of the scale when it comes to employees coming to the office is the modern business services (SSC/BPO) industry. Interestingly, before the pandemic, this was the group most likely to work from the office (around 4.5 days a week), and Covid-19 has completely revised this practice. Today, service-centre employees work in the office an average of one day a week, and their rate of return to the office is only 21%.

Employee-friendly office

The modern office should be a platform for collaboration, the sharing of ideas, and a place that provides space for professional development. This belief is prevalent in many industries and is considered an important part of business culture.

According to our observations in progressive cases of the hybrid working model, we spend an average of one to three hours at our desk (this also correlates with how often we work stationary), so offices need to create collaborative spaces that meet the specific needs of the organisation. Nowadays, employees are more likely to return to the office when their office is functional enough to help them in their daily work, without restricting them or causing additional problems in their daily work. Space should therefore be tailored to the needs of the end-users, which is why the Human-Centred Design trend has taken hold in the approach to workplace planning. We are talking about creating such a space that the employee feels comfortable and understands why the office is worth using and sees it as a benefit, not a punishment. Employers are noticing that it is very important to take care of their wellbeing, if only by providing massage rooms or micro gym rooms, as well as filling the space with natural elements, including vegetation.

Preferences for hybrid working among parents

According to our survey, having offspring has a key impact on office attendance, especially for women. The majority of women who have children in need of care are present in the office one day or work completely remotely (59% in total). This is due to the fact that in Polish society, it is still largely women who are responsible for childcare. The greater flexibility afforded by remote working makes it easier to reconcile private and professional life. For men in a similar family situation, 47% work one day or less in the office. Nearly 40% of men with children work between three and five days a week in the office. For women, the figure is 30%.

Employers continue to see the significant value of the office as a place to work

According to JLL’s global survey, 87% of employers have introduced policies to encourage people to return to the office and 33% have made it mandatory for employees to be on-site in some form. Employers are increasingly questioning the productivity gains so readily attributed to remote working in previous years. They point to face-to-face team collaboration (87%), building organisational culture (61%), and building relationships within the team (47%) as the most important reasons for employers to return to the office. The result of remote working, in their view, is a deterioration in creativity and innovation and a weakening of relationships between colleagues.

The perspective of employees presents a different picture. This is particularly true in terms of flexibility in how and where work is done. Where once the workplace was simply the office, today it can also be the living room, the kitchen or a nearby café. The view of where and which tasks can be done more efficiently has also changed. According to 58% of employees, the comfort of home allows for greater focus, and 45% believe that working from home can be more productive. The office, on the other hand, remains the place that first and foremost offers the opportunity to talk live with another person, to quickly exchange ideas or to capture so-called tacit knowledge extremely important in many industries.

It is clear from our survey that the majority of private-sector employees in Poland prefer the hybrid model. The willingness to work from the office up to three days a week was expressed by a total of 75% of respondents. The largest number, over 40% of employees, would choose to work from the office one day a week or less, and another 19% would like to perform their duties stationary two days a week. Interestingly, there is also a large group interested in working stationary full or almost full time (four to five days) – these employees accounted for a total of 25% of those surveyed. Employers, on the other hand, have a markedly different view of office attendance; 38% believe that employees should be in the office four to five days a week, with an emphasis on full-time stationary work. Such a wide gap in expectations is a cause of contention between employers and employees. In many cases, employees do not fully comply with the mandatory office attendance imposed from above. However, we have to bear in mind that hybrid working on such a massive scale is a fairly new concept, and all patterns and schemes are being refined on an ongoing basis to better and better suit the new reality.

JLL’s research clearly shows that the office still plays an important role in working life, even in the age of remote working. With the increasing demand for flexibility, employee and employer expectations of hybrid working are clearly defined. The key is to strike a balance between these two worlds in order to create a harmonious working environment that fosters growth and satisfaction for all involved.