Our space: Desk sharing is reshaping the Czech office layout

With people continuing to work from home on a regular basis, companies can save money by having workers share space.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 14.08.2023 14:08:00 (updated on 15.08.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Desk sharing is rapidly reshaping the landscape of Czech workplaces, as companies strive to optimize office space utilization while enhancing employee comfort, according to research by real estate service firm Colliers. This innovative approach not only improves efficiency but also slashes costs, with businesses investing nearly half the amount they would spend on traditional layouts.

As remote work continues to shape post-pandemic office dynamics, companies are overhauling their spaces to align with evolving work patterns and collaborative strategies. A pronounced shift is evident in the allocation of space for individual tasks versus collaborative endeavors.

"In the pre-pandemic era, approximately 70 percent of office space was devoted to individual workstations, while 30 percent catered to meeting rooms and other communal areas. Today, this ratio is undergoing a profound transformation, with 30-40 percent dedicated to workstations and 60-70 percent allocated to collaborative, networking, dining, and relaxation spaces," said Jana Vlková, Director of Workplace Advisory at Colliers.

Desk sharing has emerged as a game-changing paradigm, employed by a growing number of companies. This concept entails multiple individuals utilizing workstations previously assigned to a single employee, significantly curbing rental and maintenance expenditures.

Hot desking versus desk sharing: Both are flexible office arrangements aimed at optimizing workspace usage. Hot desking involves employees choosing from available unassigned desks each day, promoting variety and interaction. In contrast, desk sharing assigns specific desks to multiple employees based on shifts or schedules, maximizing space efficiency while allowing personalization.

As a result, organizations have the opportunity to channel more resources into optimizing these spaces and outfitting them with cutting-edge equipment. Vlková adds that employees can enrich their work week by leveraging alternative areas, such as creative zones and informal hubs, offering a change from their predominant home office routines.

This transformation is not merely confined to maximizing floor area; it also signifies a reevaluation of quality standards. The conventional benchmark of 10 to 12 square meters per desk has transitioned to 14 to 16 square meters, ultimately resulting in a reduction to six to eight square meters per employee, an outcome of shared workstations.

Typically, an average ratio of 0.33–0.7 desks per employee is calculated in such instances. The emphasis on quality, however, transcends spatial considerations and extends to enhanced amenities.

Do you like to share your desk at work?

I don’t mind working at a random desk (hot desking). 9 %
I would share but want to have the same desk (desk sharing). 6 %
I need my own space in the office. 39 %
I prefer to work from home. 42 %
My work doesn’t involve a desk. 4 %
145 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed

"Pre-pandemic, office orders often gravitated toward medium-to-basic standards. This year, the tide has turned, with most office spaces designed to elevated standards, boasting adjustable desks, ergonomic chairs, and premium lighting. A surge in investments in greenery and a preference for upscale natural materials is also discernible. Notably, technology has garnered heightened attention due to the proliferation of hybrid work arrangements," said Vlková.

Saving money as well as space

While the cost of a workstation, encompassing a desk, office chair, lockable container, partitioning screen, and lighting, averaged around EUR 1,000 in the past, today it frequently hovers at only half that amount, reflecting the efficiency achieved through desk sharing.

Although home offices remain dominant in the Czech office landscape, the shift toward desk sharing doesn't spell the end for traditional workplaces. This transformation is evidenced by the augmented investment in equipping office spaces.

Furthermore, the role of office environments in the decision-making process for job offers cannot be understated. According to data from the Czech Association of Business Service Leaders, 62 percent of employees work remotely for two to four days weekly, and 29 percent operate entirely remotely. Intriguingly, despite this remote surge, 19 percent of companies aspire to expand their physical office footprint.

These companies are dedicated to curating inviting settings that stimulate work activities and cultivate an inspiring ambiance, nurturing creativity, teamwork, and a reflection of core company values, Vlková adds. In essence, modern offices transcend being mere sites of individual work; they metamorphose into hubs for social interaction, knowledge exchange, and the embodiment of corporate culture.

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