Overworked and underappreciated; these are the feelings highlighted by office workers in the Czech Republic. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that a higher proportion feel ‘ambivalent’ about work than their European counterparts.

Launching the next localised report in our ‘Rethinking Workplace’ series, we explore the current issues and desires of workers in the Czech Republic. We also uncover how the current realisation of ‘workplace’ is affecting people's happiness, health and wellbeing.

The current landscape

Overall, our research demonstrates that office employees in the Czech Republic keep their home and work lives fairly separate. They want a dedicated workspace, but prefer working independently rather than collaboratively, choosing private offices over open plan.

Overtime is frequently undertaken, though employees say they feel most fulfilled when their home and work lives are in sync. This suggests some disparity between what people in the Czech Republic want, and their current situation.

This could perhaps also go some way in explaining why 34% feel ambivalent about work, compared to 25% of Europeans. Flexibility is highly coveted, but 40% of Czech businesses are said to currently offer no employee ‘benefits’. This is even though 55% of the Czech office working population think businesses that offer them are ‘ideal’.

40% of Czech businesses currently offer no employee ‘benefits’
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What workers want

The desire for synchronisation across their home and work lives makes flexibility high on the list of priorities for Czech workers. In support of this, ‘worklife’ is largely viewed as a positive phenomenon.

Currently, 49% of the Czech office working population never work from home, yet only 38% claim they are at their most productive in the office. This is low in comparison to the rest of Europe (61%).

These findings suggest that businesses could make some changes to improve employee productivity, starting with giving back more control to their employees.

Just 38% claim they are at their most productive in the office
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Breath easy

Indoor air quality was highlighted as the main concern in the Czech Republic - selected by 29%. This was followed by noise (19%) and poor office location (16%). Women are more concerned with air quality than men, and it’s predominantly seen as an issue in the south.

When looking at the media agenda, Prague was called into question last year for failing to bring air pollution within European limits, perhaps providing some context to the issue.

The general consensus from a design perspective is that while air quality is a clear concern, there is a limit as to how far this can be resolved by the response to the brief. Cost is frequently an issue. Good climates don’t come cheap. Also, very often, the biggest challenge is the building itself. Sometimes it’s not possible to make a significant difference to air quality, but about making better use of the outside space: more balconies, inventive use of atrium-like areas or using design cues to encourage people to go outside.

Looking ahead

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from our Czech findings is that what workers want is a greater feeling of ‘control’ over their day-to-day. They put in additional hours for no extra benefits. And what they value most is balancing work with family time. So, for businesses looking to improve their workforce’s wellbeing, the solution might start and end with flexibility.

For more insights into how the Czech Republic benchmarks against the rest of Europe, download the ‘Rethinking Workplace’ report.

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Rethinking Workplace - Czech Snapshot
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