Conveniently arranged office space, a comfortable workplace adjusted to specific employee needs, bicycle parking bays, or a spacious kitchen – these are only some of the elements with which employers can successfully attract the best candidates. According to “BPO & Shared Services Centres: employees speak about the workplace. Winning office buildings’ attributes in the war for talent”, a report prepared by Skanska and JLL; published during the 6th ABSL Conference, attractive office space can be the key criteria for young employees in selecting their employers. Furthermore, it can enhance productivity. This is especially visible in the business services sector where 90% of the staff comprise representatives of the Y generation. It is this generation who increasingly request that they would like to see their offices before signing an employment contract with their employer.
According to the latest data from ABSL, business services centres with foreign capital employ 150,000 specialists in Poland. The BPO/SSC sector is one of the most dynamically developing branches of Poland's modern economy and employs around 15,000 new specialists each year.
Arkadiusz Rudzki, Leasing & Asset Director at Skanska Property Poland, comments: “The business services sector is the main tenant of modern office buildings, especially in cities outside Warsaw. Furthermore, it is a branch with enormous recruitment requirements. The latest joint report by Skanska and JLL, prepared under the patronage of ABSL, analyses the opinions of workers employed in BPO/SSC centres with regards to office space and workstations. Research shows that over 80% of respondents would like to have the opportunity to see their workstation prior to signing an employment contract with the company.”
The report by Skanska and JLL clearly shows that a properly designed office building offering attractive, flexible space can be a major advantage in the process of looking for employees.
Anna Młyniec, Head of Office Agency and Tenant Representation at JLL says: “Modern office space that enhances effectiveness can influence an employer's selection. 65% of those surveyed asserted that offices with a modern fit-out that encourages productive work can prompt a candidate to select a particular company. It is especially important in times of heightened competiveness for staff in the business services segment.”
Workplace comfort drives effectiveness
Analysis shows that young employees value comfortable workstations. 90% of those surveyed indicated that this factor influences their productivity the most. This comes as no surprise as employees spend most of their time on performing intellectual tasks in front of their computers. Furthermore, a majority of respondents – 78% – asserted that the ability to focus on tasks in separate rooms, designed for work in silence, influences their productivity as well. This can be essential, especially in performing tasks requiring focus as well as during phone calls that are the responsibilities of 63% of respondents.
“Young people value a flexible division of their office between: relaxation zones, meeting and creative zones. Because of this, they can fully take advantage of their talents and feel comfortable whether they perform individual or team tasks as well as tasks that require great focus. In accordance with the Workplaces by Skanska philosophy, we create flexible office space that combines and meets the needs of people and companies working inside the buildings as well as the surrounding areas,” states Arkadiusz Rudzki.
81% of those surveyed indicated efficient ventilation and air conditioning as a factor influencing office productivity, while 72% wanted to work in green surroundings. 83% underlined the fact that they value access to fresh air, an aspect which is connected with the ability to either open or tilt windows in the building. Leading developers in Poland meet the needs of employees and create workplaces that are both friendly and efficient thanks to increasing the exchange flow of air, taking care of humidity levels especially during winters, and designing their schemes with maximum access to natural daylight.
“Atrium 2, developed by Skanska in Warsaw, is a great example of an investment that meets those needs. Each floor in the building will have six loggias, according to the needs expressed by our business partners. We have reacted to these expectations, including, for example, the possibility to go out on the balcony or loggia in our office buildings”, adds Arkadiusz Rudzki.
Location – access to public transport, reasonable time of commuting to work, but not necessarily an office in the city centre
It is worth remembering the fact that office location is among the factors that employees focus on while looking for employment.
“Staff surveyed in Warsaw typically reach the office within a 40 - 50 minutes commuting time. In the major agglomerations outside Warsaw, the most common answer was around 20-30 minutes. The most popular means of commuting is public transport, followed by cars. Therefore, the location of the office in close proximity to public transport stops is of crucial importance, while its location either in the city centre or outside of it is of secondary importance”, comments Anna Młyniec.
Wanted – bicycle parking racks, WIFI, canteens as well as shower cubicles
“The top priority assets in office buildings for employees of the business services sector are bicycle parking facilities, as well as free-of-charge WiFi access available throughout the entire building. Those surveyed also mentioned shower cubicles and changing rooms as well as a wide range of services located within the building or in its vicinity, such as: a canteen inside, grocery store and café” says Anna Bartoszewicz-Wnuk, Head of Research and Consulting, JLL.
Employees in the business services sector mostly work in the open space layout, but the trend towards desk sharing and providing additional space for relaxation, individual work, meetings or “brainstorming” is continuously more visible. According to JLL and Skanska analysis, employees would appreciate more flexibility towards the workplace – a significant group of respondents would like to have an opportunity to work more from home as well as combining home office with office work.
Flexibility is a feature of the modern attitude towards office space arrangement. Adjusting the office to tasks performed by employees through providing suitable space and rooms enabling performing those tasks gains in importance.
“Most of the staff from the business services sector that took part in our analysis perform activities from a wide individual work spectrum. These are computer work – e-mails, analyses, documents – followed by telephone conversations and working with office equipment. Group activities, requiring individual contact with others, such as brainstorms or client meetings are performed less often, while – interestingly – it is team work that adds more value to the company, according to respondents. The obvious conclusion is then providing a flexible working environment which allows for performance of various activities adds the most value to a company”, added Anna Bartoszewicz-Wnuk.
The latest report contains information gathered from 533 office employees working in companies from the BPO/SSC sector in Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław, Katowice, Poznań, Łódź and the Tri-City.