Table of contents


The return to stationary work during the still ongoing pandemic poses a challenge for both the employers and employees alike. It involves organizational and legal changes, as well as a necessity and obligation to guarantee safety in the workplace. As such, having witnessed how the pandemic reality transformed our habits and requirements in terms of office work, we prepared this guide,in which we examine the effects of the pandemic on the office real estate market and draw conclusions for the future.

It is our aim that this guide becomes a practical and helpful tool for companies, corporations, and other organizations. In order to achieve this, we provide useful information for managers of varioustypes of structures. We have compiled six ideal models of work organization in terms of proper use of space, indicating the pros and cons of each model, as well as types of companies that could implement them. The reader will also find advice for entrepreneurs on how to adjust a particular work model to the specifics of their company, as well as a set of guidelines for employees and employers alike to be followed during the “crawling pandemic”.

Certainly, the key element and main value of this publication is presenting specific actions that will have a real effect on improving standards and conditions of working in an office, regardless of the model implemented and the pandemic situation in the country.Additionally, in order to enhance this guide, we have included opinions of experts from the fields of: mental health, occupational medicine, interior design, trends, and labour code. The experts’ task was to analyse the effects of the pandemic on the life of employees and their families, companies and corporations, as well as possible experiences for the future from the long period of remote work during the pandemic..

On behalf of companies representing the commercial real estate market and the PINK Association I would like to invite you to read this report!

Agnieszka Hryniewiecka-Jachowicz

Director and Member of the PINK Management Board

How did the pandemic change office work?


Fewer users, permanent costs +

At the end of 2020, so several months after the most severe restrictions introduced as a response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted, as many as 993 thousand people in Poland still worked remotely. In turn, limits in terms of space use, mostly with regard to the number of persons occupying one room at the same time (DGTL 2020), were then implemented by over 90% of employers. However, maintenance costs of office space do not decrease in proportion to the decreased number of employees that occupy it. Nor does the number of facility personnel. Without resorting to closing off entire parts of buildings, it is not possible to significantly reduce costs of lighting and other systems that consume electric energy. On the other hand, new expenses have appeared – increased costs of more frequent AC maintenance or common area and office disinfection. The latter means not only increased frequency of cleaning service, but also implementation of new technologies. At the beginning of the pandemic ozonation gained popularity and was later followed by devices that enable disinfection of various surfaces, air, and water with the use of UV-C radiation and eliminate viruses more effectively.

The pandemic inhibited all negotiations regarding office space rental and it is difficult to predict when the activity on the market will again reach the record levels from before spring 2020. Sudden changes in work model are directly related to the uncertainty about the size and character of required space. As such, the companies mostly either extend agreements and remain in their current offices – while observing changes the pandemic has brought upon them – or make definite decisions concerning their organizational culture and accordingly adjust new spaces from scratch.

This situation has led to the discussion about the term of commercial lease agreements for companies. At present, lessees often expect the term of their agreement to be shortened to two or three years, even though for financial reasons such short lease terms can only be offered by operators of older buildings as part of extending existing agreements. Companies that decide to rent new spaces in modern office buildings still sign agreements for five to ten years, just like before the pandemic.

The Changing Role of the Office

Few companies plan to completely resign from having an office. Among other things, employers fear they would have no control over their employees and that relations inside teams or the mental state of their workers would deteriorate. This uncertainty is further fomented by rumours about raging occupational burnout among young employees and the zoom fatigue, namely being tired of constant online meetings, being diagnosed more and more often. (HBR 2020).

It should be expected that offices will not disappear but their role within the organization will change – they will become a core of the work ecosystem. 

Rather than a place where work is performed, they will become a space for creating organizational culture, learning, forming ties with co-workers and company clients. That is why knowledge-based organizations are currently implementing hybrid system. They perceive it as a compromise between differing employee requirements – this system allows for at least partial remote work, but at the same time provides a space for integration and direct communication. Paradoxically, offices occupied currently by a lower number of people than before the pandemic need not necessarily decrease in size. Larger space per one employee means greater freedom in terms of interior design, which is important when a new work model is being introduced by trial and error. It is also an easy way to increase a sense of freedom and security among employees.

Adaptable spaces

Insecurity about future work models and current popularity of remote work encourage to redefine the way offices function. Already before the pandemic the traditional office rental market began to draw from the experiences of the coworking space market. The latter offers shorter lease terms, trendy and well-designed common areas, and a specific atmosphere which attracts creative teams. For the office space market coworking spaces have been and are a harbinger of changes and a testing ground. At the beginning of the pandemic they were almost deserted, but soon have proven to offer a satisfactory solution for lessees unsure of their real demand for office space, as well as a good place to wait out for those who because of the pandemic wanted to downsize their office area(Knight Frank 2020).

Although coworking is not always and everywhere a commercial success, its role in the office market ecosystem has grown. At present, there are voices calling for coworking spaces and serviced offices to be included in the offer of regular office buildings to provide a lease model that would be more adaptable than the traditional one. This is important because of the uncertainty surrounding new work models which would probably take years to dissipate. 

This may mean that in the upcoming future a new type of an office building will appear – these buildings will comprise four types of space: conventional offices, serviced offices, coworking spaces, and multifunctional ground floors – offering complex services and meeting places.

Interior design

Creating a feeling of belonging

Request for remote work is growing along the decreasing satisfaction of employees with office space (Leesman 2021). Only 8% of employees occupying the highest ranked spaces indicate they would like to work remotely more often than two days a week. This grows to 51% in case of average-quality offices and to the whooping 72% for the most poorly designed spaces. 

As such, the discussions about returning to the office should take into consideration the quality of the workplace. 

In this aspect, particular attention should be paid to individualized ergonomics of office space. The effectiveness of diverse tasks already many years ago brought us the concept of Activity Based Workplace (ABW) which is about dividing the office into different activity spheres. Depending on the needs, the employee can focus on their own work, cooperate with others, rest, or perform their daily duties.

The first lockdown in 2020 shed new light on the role of offices in creating a feeling of belonging to the organization, integrating with the team, and hosting guests. In 2020, TOG, a British provider of coworking services, carried out a survey, which showed that users of coworking spaces were unsatisfied with social interactions experienced during remote work (Leesman 2020). Moreover, only 54% of respondents felt connection with their coworkers while working from home, and 56% had no opportunity to learn from others. 

This is a proof of the importance of having direct contact with other people in relation to working in an office, both in terms of planned and accidental meetings. 

The question to what degree offices in Poland currently facilitate such interactions remains open.

Paradoxically, open space does not necessarily contribute to creating a community in the workplace. It should be expected that the popularity of such spaces will begin to fall with the increasing understanding of office functions, especially given that the advantages of open spaces have already been questioned before the pandemic. According to a Harvard research, open space employees spend 73% less time interacting with others(Bernstein, Turban 2018). Other research has shown that 60% of employees consider open space to be noisy, to negatively impact their focus and mood (Innogy 2020).

Green and customized office spaces

One could venture a guess what the reorganization of office spaces will look like. Individual workplaces that have dominated so far, assigned to a particular employee, will probably be replaced by various common areas. In traditional offices belonging to one company, interaction areas will occupy more available space than in coworking offices, which always have to reserve a fixed number of permanent workplaces for small businesses. Desks will not disappear, although more and more often they will become so-called ‘hot desks’ not assigned to a particular employee. 

Apart from greater emphasis on dividing office according to types of work done, conference rooms will become technologized. 

At present, smaller rooms dedicated to groups up to five or six people are unfit for holding online meetings necessary to communicate with employees working remotely. Other technologies, already in place in modern offices, facilitating management of diverse areas, include room and desk booking systems, as well as installations monitoring air humidity and CO2 level and other circumstances that could potentially require reaction in a given place.

The modern office should excite positive emotions and make employees feel proud of it. As such, there has been a trend of late to pay more attention to details that decide on a unique character of a workplace and to design interiors in a cosy, warm, even homely manner. 

Because we spend almost 90% of our time inside (Roberts 2016), the need arises for better quality interior environment and experience offered.

Plants play an important role here. 

This means more plants in offices, but also an increased interest in biophilic design. 

The result is a visual connection between man and nature through the introduction of elements of natural surrounding inside. Apart from looking good, it lifts the mood, partly because of increased oxygen production.

Offices await modernization of HVAC systems in order to eliminate the spreading of harmful viruses and bacteria. 

There already exist modern buildings where internal environment quality was ensured thanks to ventilation systems that do not mix air and are equipped with proper filters. However, older office buildings or those built without proper regard for this aspect may need improvement or even thorough modernization of their ventilation systems.


The role of commercial building certification is changing. Places that support health and well-being of their occupants are awarded certifications such as WELL or Fitwel.


Basic requirements necessary to achieve well-being goals include: proper ventilation, purifying air from excess CO2, large amounts of daylight, contact with nature, lack of spatial barriers, workplace ergonomics, and proper acoustic solutions. Second level includes access to services, building localization and conveniences, such as sport facilities and relaxation areas. The last aspect is providing an opportunity to form relations and community in the building.

WELL Health-Safety Rating is a direct answer to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is applied to almost all kinds of buildings and is valid for 12 months. In order to obtain the certificate, the building must meet a number of requirements in six categories:

  • cleaning procedures;
  • readiness in case of crisis;
  • access to health services;
  • air and water quality;
  • engagement and communication with stakeholders;
  • innovations.

Another certificate, less popular in Poland, is Fitwel Viral Response focused on the prevention of and proper reaction to the situations of epidemic threat. It is awarded for one year, just like WELL HSR.

Human Resources

Remote work – a benefit yesterday, a standard today

Fully relying on remote work is, at least today, perceived as an extreme step taken only by few entities. However, many companies that are growing with the technological progress have already introduced hybrid work (in the office and remote) before 2020. Its many advantages were indicated to include greater employee satisfaction and their lower rotation or less frequent desire to go on holiday (Owl Labs 2019). However, the nature of this discussion has changed – allowing remote work is becoming a standard and lack of it may have a negative influence on the company’s attractiveness in the eyes of employees.

Companies should maintain their good opinion among the candidates and current employees. Despite economic turbulence and painful effects of the pandemic on certain branches of the economy, the decreasing number of available employees prevents immediate return of the so-called ‘employers’ market’. Poland has the fastest ageing society in Europe. Until 2035, the number of people in working age will decrease over 1.5 million (GUS 2014). The most rapid fall will occur in the mobile working age group, namely among people between the ages of 18 and 44 able to change their place of work or residence. Their number will decrease over 20% before 2035. The growing popularity of remote work will allow qualified workers to find employment outside the country, or even continent, without necessarily changing their place of residence.

Having an option to work remotely for a specified number of days in the week was seen as one of employee benefits already before the pandemic, and for a good reason. People working remotely feel self-sufficient and independent, and these are highly-regarded features of a position. Freedom of selecting one’s place of work is of crucial importance here – pandemic restrictions are a unique situation and remote work is not restricted to home. Companies benefit from expanding their search area outside their closest surroundings, without the need to encourage employees to move to another city or country.

Before the pandemic remote work was a competitive advantage that decreased employee rotation. In this new reality, in which the majority of companies allow this option, a company’s competitiveness will again be determined by its office. Its location, quality, and particular features will create a feeling of connection with the organization. 

The post-pandemic workplaces will therefore face many challenges. In the first place, they must meet the needs that cannot be met when working outside of the office.

Disadvantages of working outside the office

Remote work is detrimental in three areas. The first are the activities that require cooperation between team members whose effectiveness decreases while working online. The second is the onboarding, which brings much better results when carried out physically in the office. It is much easier for new employees to become acquainted with the organization and start to feel part of a community when on site. Moreover, their progress in learning the company’s ecosystem is much faster in the office. The third area are the educational and development processes, such as training and instructing sessions, or mentorship, in particular in case of group sessions, when direct interaction accelerates the training process and improves its quality. Fully remote work makes it difficult to build interpersonal relation and limits the number of people aware that a task has been completed to those directly engaged in it. This may have a negative effect on career development of employees who are unable to make their presence and value to the organization clearly visible.

Other aspect that suffers during remote work but is more difficult to measure is soft transfer of knowledge and information, among other things. Lack of opportunity to quickly communicate with a colleague by simply walking to their desk or to freely exchange information during accidental meetings in a corridor or in the kitchen have a significant impact on the quality of knowledge transfer in an organization. In order to prevent this, offices should become as attractive to employees as possible, so that they would wish to come to the office even when it is not required.

Sanitary requirements

Employer’s legal obligations

Kodeks pracy wyraźnie wskazuje, że obowiązki dotyczące zapewnienia osobom pracującym bezpieczeństwa i ochrony zdrowia spoczywają na ich pracodawcach. Prawo nakłada na nich obowiązek oceny i dokumentacji ryzyka zawodowego oraz stosowanie niezbędnych środków profilaktycznych. Jest to szczególnie istotne podczas pandemii, choć możliwe, że również długo po jej opanowaniu do podstawowych środków profilaktycznych zaliczać będziemy też ochronę przed rozprzestrzenianiem się wirusów. Warto przy tym pamiętać, że zarządzanie bezpieczeństwem i higieną pracy obejmuje też zagrożenia psychospołeczne, szczególnie nasilone w okresie ograniczeń związanych z kolejnymi falami pandemii.

Labour code clearly indicates that obligation to guarantee employee safety and health protection rests with their employer. Law imposes an obligation upon the employer to assess and document occupational risk and execute necessary preventive measures. This is particularly important during the pandemic, although it is possible that long after is has been brought under control protection against the spreading of viruses will be included in those preventive measures. It is worth remembering here that managing occupational safety and hygiene also covers psychosocial risks, especially escalated during the restrictions during subsequent waves of the pandemic.

Workplace risk assessment should cover potential sources of danger, with employees voice being particularly important here, since incorrectly selected preventive measures may negatively affect employees frame of mind and atmosphere in the team. After assessing the risk, an employer should prepare their plan of action that would include the influence of preventive measures on office functioning. Key aspects in preventing the spread of viruses include (CIOP BIP 2020):

  • limiting the number of people occupying the office at the same time and allowing for proper social distance between the workplaces;
  • regular disinfection of area, with particular emphasis on frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door knobs, elevator buttons, kitchen appliances);
  • ensuring the ability to frequently wash and disinfect hands;
  • everyday cleaning of floors and furniture with water and suitable detergents;
  • maintaining absolute cleanliness of shared kitchenware and cutlery;
  • removing unnecessary objects touched by many people (newspapers, gadgets, and so on);
  • whenever possible: storing correspondence and delivered packages in dedicated containers for several hours.

Prevention not only during the pandemic

Thanks to the pandemic, various solutions that allow contactless use of the building have gained on popularity – from access control, through calling an elevator, to interacting with couriers and digital management of guest access. Various devices to automatically monitor employee body temperature are also available, although scientist often report their low effectiveness in detecting COVID-19 cases (Stave 2021). At the same time, advanced air purification technologies are being implemented, which neutralize viruses and bacteria, thus increasing safety inside a building. More conventional air purification systems are also generally available. The National Labour Inspectorate (Państwowa Inspekcja Pracy) recommends that rooms be aired for 10 minutes every hour during the day and possibly throughout the night. In buildings equipped with mechanical ventilation systems it is recommended that the systems operation be extended to the maximum.

In the long term, the most important role will be played by the solutions that will not only take care of employees during the coronavirus pandemic, but also respond to health problems related to other threats.As such, the lessees already pay particular attention to technologies that both purify and ionize air to protect from viruses but also improve its quality, for instance by removing negative effects of smog.

Extraordinary measures, potential conflicts

Preventive measures related to the pandemic also include formerly uncommon individual solutions: covering mouth and nose, and vaccination. As of October 2021, in accordance with the ordinance of the Council of Ministers, face masks must be worn by default in workplaces if the room is occupied by more than one person. However, the employer can freely regulate this issue. At the same time, mouth and nose must be unconditionally covered in direct contact with third parties, which mostly means guests. In case of vaccination, an employee is not obliged to inform their employer about being vaccinated and adjusting the company and office operation based on the division into those vaccinated and those not vaccinated may lead to breach of labour code charges. This is a potential source of conflict that needs further legal specification.

The return to the office

There is no and will be no one manner in which the companies will return to the office after the COVID-19 pandemic. Each company will adjust to its own needs and possibilities: the number of employees, type of business, corporate culture, and employee expectations. We can only specify several ideal models of work organization with regard to the use of space, point to their advantages and disadvantages, and also tell which companies may use these models and to what they should pay attention to ensure effective operation. Based on foresight training sessions with experts – sociologists, economists, cultural studies experts, and field analysts – and previously published reports[1], we have specified six work models: stationary, hybrid/regulated, hybrid/free, satellite, the agora model, and remote model.

The Stationary Model

Many employers would wish to bring back the rules of stationary work in the same extent they were in place before the outbreak of the pandemic. Their goal is to rebuild informal relations inside teams, because this will improve information flow in the company and employees creativity as well, and to marginalize the role of video conferences, which will only be used sporadically, e.g. to meet with contractors stationed abroad. An important element of this strategy is the unwillingness to bear the costs of changing corporate governance and resign from the work model that proved successful.

Conditions necessary for the model to be successfully implemented

The foundation for the successful implementation of the stationary work model will be encouraging employees to return to the office. During the pandemic, many employees discovered the benefits of remote work and realized that the manner in which they perform their duties does not have to look the way it did before. Resistance towards returning to the stationary model can be seen in the majority of surveys carried out so far – only 10–20% of employees would like to return to working in the office five days a week.

As such, employers have decided to put emphasis on benefits of working from the office and offer additional rewards to those of their employees who return to full stationary work. There are many ways to do that. We predict that in the future the most common solutions will be monetary allowances for stationary work for key employees which would minimize the risk of their leaving for a competitor offering them the possibility to work remotely, as well as benefits and attractions for people in the office, such as free parking, concerts, or loyalty programs (see Chapter 3). In this last aspect, many employers may decide to hire a community manager who will take care of the needs of stationary employees and adjust the benefits offer to the corporate culture and employees’ actual needs.

Some employers, who would like to fully return to the office, may allow for more flexible working hours in order to meet the expectations of their employees who have come to like remote work. Those working in the office will be granted greater freedom in terms of when they begin and end work so that their work could be better adjusted to their family duties (e.g. collecting children from school).

At the same time, employers who will not be able or will not want to make working hours more flexible, may decide to introduce regulations supporting the division between personal and professional life. For example, it may be entered into the code of good practices that employees perform their duties only in the office and their managers should not contact them outside working hours. Such solutions will also have the purpose of showing employees that stationary work results in a better work-life balance. Still, there is little chance for such regulations to be made binding (e.g. through strict control of times when an employee logs in their work mail) given the resistance of some employees and non-compliance with the labour code. Some of these solutions may later be introduced nationwide on suggestion of trade unions, like it happened in France.


  • Easy to build close relations with employees and clients
  • Bringing back stability to employees after the pandemic
  • No need to significantly modify organizational culture


  • Risking losing employees dissatisfied with the inability to choose their work model
  • Necessary financial compensation to stationary workers
  • Potential loss of new possibilities by maintaining the status quo.

For whom?

Company type: The return to stationary work model in full scope will be chosen mostly by companies operating in a stable business environment, oriented towards repetitive processes, with established position on the market, and having many formalized procedures in their organizational governance. This option will be more frequently selected by companies from mid-sized towns, where employees often lack access to fast Internet and/or conditions to work remotely. It will also be picked by businesses, where the work flow requires continuing task coordination and handling confidential information – from architect firms to brokerage companies.

Employee types: Stationary model may be implemented by companies employing persons with strongly developed need to belong to a group, for whom lack of contact with their co-workers leads to decreased mood and effectiveness. This model will better suit companies whose employees are older people, not so well adjusted to the virtual environment and less willing to change their work model permanently. In terms of corporate culture, the stationary model will work best in hierarchical companies, with low individualism among workers and strong attachment to external status symbols (especially in relations with clients).

The Hybrid/Regulated Model

Because many employees declare the will to partially stick to working remotely, many employers assume there is no going back to the status quo ante, namely the pre-pandemic work model. Such companies choose compromise – most frequently the regulated hybrid work, i.e. having clearly stated by the management who works in the office and on what days. Such a decision may be preceded by a survey of employees’ preferences, but remains arbitrary in nature – the management dictates remote work days to every employee. It is the management that assigns which teams and on what days gather in the office, as well as: which departments may have more, and which fewer, days of remote work. In this model, key tasks, as well as tasks that require cooperation, are performed in the office, whereas individual work is done remotely.

This regulated form of hybrid work combines benefits of remote and stationary work, both for the employee and employer. Similarly, like in full home office, the employee has flexibility, which allows them to plan home duties, and the employer is in exchange presented an opportunity to lower the costs of maintaining an office. On the other hand, just like in case of full stationary work, the employee is given an opportunity of regular social contact, whereas the employer maintains some control over the employee’s effectiveness. However, the cost of adopting this solution may be the discontent among the employees – the feeling of injustice and pressure. Some of the employed will feel forced to work from home and others will be reluctant to come to the office on days they would prefer to enjoy more flexibility.

Conditions necessary for the model to be successfully implemented

For the majority of organizations, introducing the regulated hybrid work system is the easiest way to allow their employees to remain in the remote work mode several days a week, but it requires some investments. It needs proper IT infrastructure – to manage employees work mode (stationary vs. remote) and to prepare their calendar in such a way so as to minimize office costs and at the same time maximize necessary contact between employees. It is also necessary to implement mechanisms of managing individual work outside the office – setting tasks, controlling their completion, and analysing effects. Most likely, the most efficient method of management will in this case be regular stationary team meetings, and some companies may need certain IT tools (e.g. based on Gantt charts).

The greatest unknown of the regulated hybrid model is the degree to which it will meet the needs of employees and employers. It is, after all, a compromise that in extreme case may satisfy no one. Those who declare they wish to work in a hybrid model understand it as allowing them to come to the office at any time on any day, and the employers understand hybridwork as greater control over work quality and greater team creativity. In some companies these results may, however, not be achieved, that is why it is worth to introduce an evaluation mechanism and to possibly adjust remote working hours to the needs of employees and their managers. Some companies may also decide to introduce a regulated hybrid model only after a period of full stationary work, e.g. by gradually increasing the number of hours of remote work for individual employees.


  • Low costs of office maintenance
  • Employees content with having an option of partial remote work
  • Possibility of having strict control over the manner of performing work and its effects
  • Low costs of work model transformation


  • Difficult scalability of the model in case of company expansion
  • Risking losing employees dissatisfied with the inability to choose their remote work days
  • Difficult to execute the model (some employees may only take vacation on days of stationary work)

For whom?

Company type: The hybrid/regulated model is best suited for companies whose operation is project-based, where the majority of employees need time for both team and individual work. It will do well in companies in which employees need temporary, but regular access to organization resources (e.g. printers, large screens, fast computers, software, secure servers). It may be introduced efficiently both in large and in smaller companies where employee rotation is low and the tasks are highly repetitive.

Employee types: The regulated hybrid model works well to a degree for every type of employee, regardless of their experience level, place of residence, gender, age, or personality type. A good manager will be able to adjust this model to everyone – from those who lack conditions to work remotely from their homes, to people who are extremely ineffective while working in open office spaces. An element of corporate culture that will facilitate the introduction of this model is a high degree of acceptance of management instructions as well as consent to inequality within the organization – the latter will allow to diversify remote working time depending on an employee without risking that the feeling of injustice will grow too much.

The Hybrid/Free Model

During the COVID-19 pandemic, unregulated hybrid work was – apart from full remote work – the basic business model for many companies in Poland. Employers gave their employees a lot of freedom to choose the frequency and days when they appeared in the office. As a result, in the free model each employee could make an individual decision how often and when they want to work from the office. It all depended on whether they could work remotely, their feeling of safety, or their personality type. For many employees this was the most attractive form of performing their tasks and this flexibility was the work’s main advantage for them. The employers also benefited from this situation, as they could decrease the rented area. Many entrepreneurs may therefore stick to this solution also after the pandemic, or – in a slightly modified version – allow their employees only several days of remote work per month (e.g. for team meetings), leaving them free to choose how they would work on the remaining days.

Conditions necessary for the model to be successfully implemented

The hybrid/free model requires larger office area than the regulated model, so that each employee willing to come to work could find a workplace. There are two ways a company could achieve this: either by renting larger office space than required on average or by renting when needed places in a coworking area made available by the lessor in the same building. An alternative solution to the fluctuating number of people working in the office is to introduce an application that would inform a person, who declared they would like to come to the office, if they have a desk available. However, larger companies will require more complex tools to prevent the booking of desks ‘just in case’ and to implement automated booking connected with employees calendars.

Also, the hybrid/free model needs more conference rooms and online meeting booths to hold meeting between workers who are in the office on that given day and those who are working remotely. This means additional costs of office space, IT and audio visual equipment, so that the communication between the office and remote employees would be quick and efficient and to provide proper security measures of transferred documents. With the development of remote work the number of cyberattacks that would use loopholes in home PCs security and data transfer outside a secured company server will grow.

The remaining conditions to successfully introduce the free hybrid model are the same as in the regulated model. Most importantly, the number of managers’ duties will grow, as they will ensure work continuity maintaining full flexibility of how the work is carried out, as well as process and quality control of performed tasks. The importance of soft skills required for managers will also increase, including motivating remote workers or maintaining social coherence between groups of workers who work remotely more often and those who prefer to work in the office.

An important factor that will improve this model’s efficiency will be to create benefits for employees as a reward for being in the office and to communicate these benefits. This could be achieved by e.g. organizing events for those present in the company, supporting safe and environmentally responsible commute to work, or creating communication channels in social media that would inform about the office life. This will maintain the interest in office work in both the people who decide to come to the office and those who will still fear for their health in the first months after the pandemic.


  • High self-organizing flexibility offered to employees
  • Attractive to employees with different personality types
  • Possibility to use the hybrid model as a step in organizational structure development


  • Costs of additional stationary work places and many rooms to hold online conferences
  • Difficult process coordination
  • Possible differences in experience among employees with equal seniority

For whom?

Company type: The free hybrid model will be best for small and medium companies with flat corporate structure where the relations between employees are informal and the management has a liberal way of managing employees – delegates duties along with the responsibility for them. This model will be easiest to implement for companies in larger cities, where there are office buildings offering coworking areas that could serve as a buffer in periods of increased willingness for stationary work, as well as numerous video conference rooms and online meeting booths.

Employee types: This model is designed for employees who have great need for flexibility, in particular representatives of liberal professions, who like and want to assume full responsibility for their tasks. It will be easier to implement in younger teams, made of people who have no problem using modern technologies, and are highly disciplined. The attachment displayed by the employees to building personal relations and their willingness to spend time with others in the office will further facilitate the implementation of the free hybrid model. In any other case the organizational governance will naturally drift towards full remote work.

The Satellite Model

The satellite model of work organization is one of the two models that have been created in response to changes in the nature and character of working as a result of the pandemic. In essence, it means that employees carry out their tasks in small offices located close to their place of residence. These branches of sorts may take the form of actual company offices or designated parts of coworking areas. Companies have a main seat, but it mostly serves as a working area for the management and a representative place to meet with clients. Employee gatherings or company parties may also be held there from time to time.

This model has the advantage that allows the company to maintain the benefits of group work, as well as the separation of professional and personal life, at the same time minimizing commute costs and increasing work flexibility. Small company branches situated close to employees homes make it possible for an employee to reconcile their professional responsibilities with picking up their children from school, doing the groceries, or going to the hairstylist just as well as while working remotely. This is further facilitated by working in small teams, in which strong relations form and employees show understanding towards one another because they do not only share the office – they also run into each other in local stores or send their kids to the same schools.

Conditions necessary for the model to be successfully implemented

The satellite model poses a challenge for the employers. It requires detailed planning and effective organizational structure without which it may turn out to be very expensive in terms of people (best employees leaving) and finances (high cost of satellite offices maintenance). Given little experience in implementing this model by companies, it is difficult to outline all conditions that must be met for it to work effectively. One could, however, point out to the areas that require different solutions than the stationary or hybrid model. Despite providing the employees with office space, this model is in fact much closer to remote work than models described earlier.

In the satellite model, stationary activity is organized in regional teams and task teams – should they be created – work only online. As such, employees in one satellite office have varying competences and often are not engaged in any common project or task. There are two possible solutions to this problem – either introducing a clearly defined system of goals, procedures, and performance assessment mechanism, which would allow for a remote control of employee efficiency, or gradual specialization of every satellite office (e.g. based on regional GUS offices, which apart from standard tasks have each their assigned specialist research areas – different for each office). However, regardless of the solution, the satellite model requires good task coordination between satellite offices. This in turn generates additional management costs, and in an extreme case introduces yet another level in the organization hierarchy, namely satellite office managers.

Another crucial element of the satellite model is the necessity to provide proper office space in satellite offices – so that every employee had a workplace, but without maintaining unnecessary desks that would increase operational costs. Such optimization of space will require building good relations with lessors. Probably the easiest way would be to enter into cooperation with a coworking services company which would provide access to many coworking areas in different locations used on the same terms and would easily offer more work places when the number of employees increases. At the same time, just like in models based largely on remote work, the one condition necessary for this organization type to succeed is to ensure security of data transfer and to introduce electronic circulation of documents. In case of companies working with classified data, this may require additional server security measures that will have to be negotiated on equal terms with different office space providers.


  • Organization flexibility
  • Easy solution scalability, independent of organization size
  • Employees given choice as to the way in which they perform their responsibilities
  • No long commute
  • Employee creativity stimulated thanks to contact with people with diverse competences


  • Loosened ties with the organization
  • Organization culture atomized
  • Increased complexity of organization management
  • Maintaining a network of smaller minor office areas
  • Risk of employees being headhunted in coworking areas

For whom?

Company type: This model will be best for large companies that have previously tried similar solutions on a larger scale, e.g. in corporations that have a network of regional branches. In particular, this means companies with clearly defined working procedures, specified goals for employees, and standardized assessment mechanisms. The satellite model will work best in an organization that employs many people with similar competences – there is a chance then that there will be enough people in one office who could train and intellectually stimulate one another, and supervision over them will be possible from the level of the satellite office, not company headquarters. Companies situated in metropolises, whose employees before the pandemic outbreak commuted to work from afar, will benefit the most from this model.

Employee types: Satellite model is best suited for employees who are not fully efficient working remotely because of their housing conditions or personality type but who favour work time flexibility, low commute costs, and contact with other people. This model will work well for older and younger persons alike, as well as those from smaller and larger cities, because it combines the benefits of remote work with the type of office work known from before the pandemic. The satellite model will catch on particularly well in a corporate culture that accepts significant diversity of employees and manners in which tasks are carried out and in which there is a high level of individualism among the management staff.

The Agora Model

Another new model of work organization, which aims to combine the benefits of performing one’s tasks remotely with the benefits of meeting with one's team in real life, is the so-called office space ‘AGORIZATION’. A company has its own headquarters, but it is used only as a place for project teams meetings, organizing integration events, and holding representative meetings with clients. Thus it serves s similar function to the agora of the Greek poleis: it is a place for exchanging thoughts, unifying positions, and creating a community. In an agora, there are no typical desks where one could work the whole day. But there are conference rooms of various sizes that surround a large common area, as well as small booths to carry out ad hoc remote tasks and onboarding of new employees into procedures and tasks.

Visits to the agora are not an integral part of every week’s agenda, but only a possibility offered to employees – the company provides space for team meetings, but does not require it of people who do not feel such a need. Obligatory visits to the agora, if any, are only imposed on the employees by their team leaders that want to stimulate employee creativity, or result from the nature of an employee's job (e.g. necessary meetings with clients. It is assumed that all operations are performed remotely, making this system similar to full home office.

Conditions necessary for the model to be successfully implemented

A company operating on the agora model should implement mechanisms similar to those used for typical remote work: efficient circulation of e-documents and knowledge, clear procedures, secure IT infrastructure, and management by objectives that would include clear assessment mechanisms for performed tasks. Additionally, it should support employees in independent organization of their work time as well as equipping and preparation of their home work place. Another important aspect is to prepare a way to onboard new members to teams working mostly online.

A company that decides on this model of office work should pay extra attention to provide proper headquarters – attractive in terms of location and the visual aspect (best located in the city centre) and also modern and diverse, so that employees would feel good inside and so that it would evoke positive associations in employees and clients. This way the visits to the headquarters will be a pleasure, not an obligation. But to achieve this, a company needs more than just appropriate space. It would also need to hire competent community managers who would ensure that each visit to the HQ builds community ties, increases employee’s identification with the company, and enhances creative thinking. As such, while recruiting a community manager it will be crucial to check their (soft and hard) skills, but also to analyse their character in terms of fitting to other company employees.


  • Low costs of office maintenance
  • Creating a feeling of complete trust in the employee
  • Organization flexibility
  • Stimulating employee creativity


  • Lack of complete control over the employee
  • Risking loosening relations between the employees
  • Risking depression and problems with maintaining work-life balance among the employees
  • Less efficient onboarding and development of new hires
  • Creating an illusory feeling of having one's own work place in the office

For whom?

Company type: The Agora Model is best suited for companies that operate mostly project-based, require creative, innovative thinking, building relations with clients, and large investments in creating their image. These will usually be average-size companies in large cities – small enough to ensure integration between project teams and coherent organization culture, but at the same time large enough so that the agora would always be teeming with life.

Employee types: Just like with full remote work, this model will work best for companies with young, creative, and culturally coherent staff, who have proper conditions to work from home. This model will be accepted by various types of personalities, because with the help of the community manager anyone will be able to find their balance between visits to the agora and working remotely. The agora model will find acceptance in companies with highly individualized personnel and low power distance in teams – the manager must not only be a boss for their employees but also a good colleague who thanks to their personality will make full use of the team building potential allowed by the agora.

Remote model

Some of the companies, which during the pandemic have sent all their employees home to work remotely and have resigned from renting their office space, may decide to continue with this organizational model. Here, all team meetings are carried out using online platforms: e-mailboxes, video conference programs, phone calls, social media, or the company’s proprietary platforms. The employee has unlimited freedom to organize their daily work, both in terms of the order in which they fulfil their tasks, as well as creating their own workplace, or even choosing their place of residence anywhere in the world.

Possible meetings in person remain the sole initiative of the employed – are held on their request in public spaces, coffee shops, free coworking areas, or in conference rooms rented only for this short period. Company headquarters are either only virtual (e-mail and postal address) or are hugely limited and usually located in a coworking area or serviced office with a reception desk and conference rooms rented for hours.

Conditions necessary for the model to be successfully implemented

One necessary condition for a company to operate in the remote model effectively is to implement management by objectives. Each employee has to have clearly specified tasks and performance expected by their manager, based on which they will be late evaluated. The company's projects also have to be clearly divided into small tasks, possibly independent of each other. More complicated processes will require constructing detailed schedules and setting milestones. It will be crucial to distribute responsibility for each task and to divide responsibility on higher levels of organization hierarchy.

On the technical side, the remote model requires a defined set of procedures and platforms that would allow knowledge sharing between teams. IT infrastructure plays a key role here, as it provides the employees with necessary equipment, but also – most importantly – guarantees safety of data transfer. The employers also have to support their employees in creating their remote workplaces – both financially and in terms of necessary advice, offering suggestion how best to use available space to prevent any negative health effects of work.


  • No maintenance costs
  • Can reach a vast group of potential employees
  • Creating a feeling of complete trust in the employee
  • Flexible work time organization
  • Easy to find employees in the country and abroad
  • Possible salary differentiation based on the location where the work is done


  • Lack of complete control over the employee
  • Impaired interpersonal relations between employees
  • Decreased team creativity
  • Loosened ties with the organization
  • Risking depression and problems with maintaining work-life balance among the employees
  • Less efficient onboarding and development of new hires
  • Impaired motivation of extrovert employees

For whom?

Company type: The remote model will work almost exclusively in small companies operating task-based, with high employee rotation, often relying on people hired only for specific projects. The clients of such companies must usually be larger companies, whose representatives usually meet with their contractors at their workplace. This model will also work for companies that have high income variability for which high permanent costs may pose a challenge in terms of financial fluidity.

Employee types: The fully remote model will work best in organizations with relatively young staff, made mostly of freelancers, for whom everyday digitalization in not a psychological burden and flexibility is the most valued indicator of good work. This solution can be successful in companies that place low regard on social coherence and maintaining direct relations between employees. Advantageous element of corporate culture would include high employee individuality and low regard for work-life balance.

How could we support companies in their return to the office?

Ensuring safety in the office

After several waves of COVID-19, health safety in the workplace has become the most important value for employees. Installing disinfecting substance dispensers and plates ordering employees to wear masks or increasing the frequency of cleaning service have now become a minimal standard. A company may also express its care for the employees by proper arrangement of office area and offering services that would increase the feeling of health safety. Managers of companies returning to rented office areas are aware of all this and will be sensitive to this issue.

The lessors (i.e. building owners and/or managers) may designate employee-only area already during the interior design stage. Separate rooms, or even whole floors, can be then dedicated to meetings with customers, subcontractors, and other stakeholders. Open outside meeting areas offer an interesting solution, accessible in good weather. These solutions will decrease the risk of accidental infection from people from the outside.

Another answer is to designate one-way passageways, which make maintaining social distance easier. In these passageways – just like in one-way streets – people can keep the distance because they don't have to go past other employees going in opposite direction.

A proper air conditioning system greatly increases office work safety. Research shows that regular air filtration and room airing significantly decrease virus transmission. Owners of office areas or building managers may therefore consider installing air filtrating and ionizing devices, which previously have been installed only in hospitals.

Employees feel safer when they have good access to health care. As such, it would be a good idea to dedicate area for a generally accessible doctor’s office that would offer COVID-19 tests. Protective face masks could be given to visitors at the reception desk – to encourage them to wear masks inside.

Another solution that increases the feeling of safety among those employed by the lesseesis having an option to order a meal directly to one’s desk, as some people may avoid visiting the cafeteria for fear of large gatherings. Table booking applications (allowing the user to select time and meal) may work well in larger companies. They will improve health safety, decrease cafeteria costs, and reduce crowd in meal times. In our opinion, after the pandemic such services can serve as one of the incentives to come to the office.

Savills: rearranging office area improves work environment safety

Savills offers advice to its lessees in terms of reorganizing office work in accordance with the current requirements of Central Sanitary Inspectorate and Ministry of Health. The process includes drawing up procedures, adjusting area, and communicating changes. One of the elements of this process is the analysis of passageways thanks to which the entire property can be appropriately divided into zones. Available solutions are adjusted to the office layout; changes on open space in periods of greater risk of infection include workplace relocation, designating one-way passageways, exclusion of common areas, or allowing employees to come to the office on specified days.

Vastint: safe and friendly workplace, even during the pandemic

The Business Garden building complexes owned by Vastint meet safety standards and are ready for the return of their lessees from remote work. The developer has implemented several untypical solutions, such as opening formal and informal meeting places in the open air. These places, surrounded by a green garden, offer an interesting alternative in case of limited office space availability, at the same time they make it possible to maintain social distance.

Echo Investment: RCI ActivePure guarantees office air quality

Echo Investment introduces a new standard “Echo Pure Office” with the aim to reduce epidemic risk and immediately react to the existing threat. Buying RCI ActivePure will allow you to eliminate over 96% of pathogens in the air within 30 minutes from turning on the device. This technology is mostly used by lessees in the medical field who run health centres. Now these systems are delivered to office space lessees as a standard and not a preventive measure. Ensuring proper air quality encourages employees to return to the office.

Capital Park Group: healthcare at the workplace

During the pandemic, “Office Doctor”, a dedicated healthcare service introduced in 2019 by Capital Park Group, proved really invaluable. Thanks to it, office employees and building visitors have a quick access to a doctor, rescue services, and specialist ambulance. Each month medical team receives around 90 calls in the Royal Wilanów business centre. During the COVID-19, there were several critical interventions, and in three cases the Office Doctor team managed to save a life.

Office workers appreciate the presence of rescue workers, as well as an option to undergo medical examination or to disinfect office areas. They have access to tried tests and professional consultations in terms of sanitary and hygiene safety, which is of key value at present. As a result, in April 2021 a service point run by the Office Doctor team was opened in the Royal Wilanów building where one can purchase and do tests for SARS-CoV-2 and flu. The point operates 7 days a week and is open to everyone – not only those working in Royal Wilanów, but also nearby residents.

More flexible office space offer

Allowing employees to work in the hybrid model, especially in its free variant, means that the company will have to manage fluctuations in office occupancy. Some days probably even 70–80% of employees will choose stationary work, whereas on other days the number will fall to 20%. This will make it difficult for a company to decide on an optimal size of its office area. Property owners can help employers – they may offer flexible office rental forms, for instance access to additional conference rooms or hot desks, namely desks that can be booked on an ad hoc basis in a coworking area. An alternative solution, that will work well in the satellite model as well, is to allow companies to book hot desks for the next day in any coworking area belonging to the property owner – in the country and abroad.

Increased demand for flexibility in the way lessees operate requires flexible parking space management. In the hybrid or satellite model there is no room for a solution in which a company rents parking spaces for selected management staff members and other employees have to look for places to park their cars in the street, even when some of the rented parking places are empty. In such cases a flexible model is required, in which a company can, through a mobile application, book parking places on an hourly basis for any employee or visitor and pay only for parking time effectively used. What’s more, on weekends the same parking places could be made available to visitors of nearby apartment blocks or shopping malls. This way it would be possible to reduce the number of required parking places and at the same time increase their occupancy rate.

Office building owners acting as an extension of their lessees’ HR

In Western countries various amenities offered to lessees have already become so popular that, for instance, on the New York real estate market there appeared a trendy slogan “to amenitise”, meaning exactly “to introduce amenities for the users of a building”. The pandemic has additionally accelerated these processes, on the Polish office rental market as well. Today everything steers towards convenience — everything is supposed to be quick, comfortable, and safe, in response to the growing demand and one increasingly stronger group on the job market, the millenials. This expanded amenities aspect additionally influences HR processes in companies that rent office spaces wanting to keep or recruit biggest talents and encourage them to work in the office. HR process, apart from the salary and benefits offered by the employer, may also propose a wide range of additional attractions that result from having an office in a given location, including training sessions, events, and initiatives that constitute an added value for the candidate. This aspect is strongly related to the growing popularity of a community manager function in office buildings – a person who takes care of broadly understood ‘entertainment’ for people working in a given place and actively works to create office communities.

IMMOFINANZ: an office myhive brand with strong emphasis on community management

Four years ago IMMOFINANZ introduced an international myhive office brand into the market naming its several distinguishing features that include strong emphasis on providing office-related services and creating office communities. This way it contributed to the growing popularity of a then new position of a community manager, a person with the aforementioned responsibilities. Free activities offered to 17 000 people who work in myhive buildings include business training sessions, entertaining and occasional events, sport classes, and engaging activities from the area of CSR and environment protection

Colliers: Colliers Mobility Pass makes coworking areas rental more flexible

The company offers a desk booking application for coworking spaces all over the world. Its aim is to improve the effectiveness of organizations operating on the basis of the hybrid model. Thanks to the application, companies can freely adjust the number of desks they rent in a given location depending on their demand. This translates to the reduction of permanent costs related to maintaining an office and process optimization, thanks to - among other things - advanced analysis of employee data or the option to settle costs for all locations on one invoice. At present, the service is available in 5000 coworking areas in 70 countries.

Vastint: Ready-flex flexible rental option for individual office modules

By adjusting its services to customer needs at the time of the pandemic, the company has expanded their offer with new business solutions – rental of autonomous, fully furnished office spaces for small and large companies or their teams in a flexible short-term agreement option. Ready Flex is not the same as coworking. Vastint offers ready-to-use offices that allow the lessees to operate independently, without having to share rented area with other people or companies. The modules of 300 or 400 square metres consist of a reception area, office area, open spaces, conference rooms, staff rooms and restrooms. The flexible short-term rental option, from 6 to 24 months, allows you to enjoy your own, fully furnished office with access to numerous amenities offered by Vastint real estates, which in the past were only available to large lessees.

Assistance in safe commute

Many Poles are afraid of getting coronavirus in public transportation because some people still do not adhere to the restrictions (wearing masks, maintaining social distance, disinfection) and get away with it, so employees are afraid to return to the office. A solution would be using one's own means of transportation: a car, a bicycle, or a scooter. In addition to increasing available parking area (see Recommendation 2), it would be worth to provide sufficient number of bicycle racks and electric car and scooter charging stations next to the office, as well as e nsuring shared transportation posts in the vicinity of the office – carsharing parking places, scooter or city bikes rentals.

All this is in line with the trend of growing climate awareness in Poland – one can assume they would be positively viewed because they protect the environment and are safe for the employees’ health. Currently, among this type of activities, the leading ones are those that promote cycling. But providing a bike room, a changing room, and a shower, or an easy access to city bikes, will not suffice. Some employees need an incentive to switch to a bike. For example, this could be a contest – organized by the building owner or manager, for all teams in companies renting office area in a given office building, with prize in form of a charity donation or miles that could be exchanged for a concert for the company or a weekend family party for the employees. The winning team is the one who covered the most miles while commuting. Such actions have an additional value that one can only participate in them when they work stationary. As a result, they motivate employees to visit the office and take care of one’s health.

IMMOFINANZ: myhive reduces pollution and encourages people to move

In their office buildings, IMMOFINANZ offers bike racks for over 1000 bikes, showers, and safe lockers for storing bike clothes. Apart from the cycling infrastructure, the company offers, through its office brand myhive, a proprietary bike rental system. As part of the initiative, the lessees can make use of over 100 bikes. The maximum allowed rent period is 24h, so employees can easily rent a bike to go home and on the next day return to work by bike. This is IMMOFINANZ’s contribution to reducing emissions and encouraging lessees to spend their free time in an active manner. So far, in the five editions of the program, myhive users have travelled over 61 thousand kilometres in total, reducing CO2 emission by 9700 kg.

GTC SA: good relations are the foundation of the “welcome” strategy

Managing relations is crucial in WELCOME strategy prepared in GTC SA. Its key element is taking care to create a Total Experience path not only for lessees, but also visitors and office building staff. The company takes comprehensive care of the wellbeing of all users of the office space and of their perception of the workplace. It uses the latest technologies in order to take care of the health and safety of employees. Among other things, these technologies include RCI ActivPure ®, which operates 24/7 in the presence of people and neutralizes microbiological contaminations from surface and air, including 99.9% SARS-CoV-2 particles in only 3 minutes, without having to section off parts of the building.

At the same time, it encourages employees to improve how they care about their own health and wellbeing. We provide access to professional cycling infrastructure, gym, or green areas outside the building, all of which inspire people to meet and work outside. Yoga classes or salt grottos are also available.

On the other hand, the “Welcome to GTC” application supports the implementation of a modern system of parking place, conference room, and workplace management. It is the next step on the path to creating a community of our lessees and supporting office managers in their care about employee wellbeing.

Vasnit: An easy way to avoid big gatherings in rush hours

Vastint supports lessees in safe commute. The “Ale Jazda” action, run as part of the “Hospitality” program, is meant to allow them to test alternative means of commute. Free bike rental is offered from April to the end of September. All employees of Business Garden office building complexes in Warsaw, Poznań, and Wrocław can partake in the program. This is an excellent solution during the pandemic, as it allows employees to avoid crowded public transportation during rush hours.


New normal in the post-pandemic world will be more or less a surprise to everyone. Companies, managers, and ordinary employees will have to adjust to new procedures and conditions: office layout, work model, commuting, changes in how we communicate with other team members, new way of reporting. No one says it will go smoothly. The Poles will have to deal not only with professional challenges, but also challenges in their social and family life. That is why it is so important to offer assistance to managers, especially those who implement changes in the organizational structure, are redesigning the office layout, or try to take care of the team's coherence or of employees struggling with the new reality. To achieve this, one could resort to consulting services (for instance while preparing a new management method for a hybrid model), training sessions for employers and their teams, consulting in terms of change communication, or even free support of a psychologist whose office will be situated in the building. These services can be introduced in the building by its owner or manager.

HB Reavis: Origameo makes intelligent office area design easy

HB Reavis, an international real estate developer company, offer their Polish clients support in terms of office layout design, so that it meets to the company's expectations and is in line with their profile. The service consists of three main parts:

  1. analysis and counselling in terms of work area,
  2. workplace planning and design, and
  3. interior design management.

According to the analyses carried out by Origameo after implementing office design adjusted to company demands, the service increases employee efficiency by 15%, what translates into 20% lower employer costs. As part of their office design service Origameo provides additional change management process.

Cushman & Wakefield: their proprietary change management process helps create offices of the future

Thanks to their proprietary change management process, Cushman & Wakefield help their clients to not only modify office arrangement, but also implement procedures that increase user safety. Among other things, their methods include the way employees move around the office, specific rules for business trips, or procedures in case of infection. Solutions and tools already available on the market (office and building applications, A/V, HVAC, or H&S solutions) have been adjusted to the individual needs of their clients.

“Cushman & Wakefield: flexible consultancy” is the key to client satisfaction. Cushman & Wakefield’s primary service, delivered by their Office Agency Team, offers consultancy in office space lease transactions. Hygiene and sanitary requirements for offices are also analysed systematically in the context of another wave of the pandemic. The specialized Workplace Strategy Team advised their Clients on how to arrange office areas so that they would meet current standards, while the Project & Development Services Team managed the physical process of adjusting the office to the developed concept. In terms of consultancy, the clients were also offered a selection of possible implementations of various applications for offices, which would increase efficiency and flexibility of the work environment.

IT Assistance

The outbreak of the pandemic occurred during a digital revolution which included rapid development of the Internet of Things. During the return to the office, especially in the hybrid and remote model, it would be worth to make use of the current technological development. For instance, companies may use applications that will help them:

(1) manage office occupancy by allowing the user to book a desk for a day of stationary work or control the number of people in a room and distance between them,

(2) manage parking places and the access road to the building,

(3) move around the building in a contactless manner thanks to automatic opening of doors, elevators, or entry gates,

(4) manage secure e-document circulation between employees in the office and those working remotely.

However, the use and effectiveness of applications already available on mass scale depends on their compatibility with the building and its infrastructure: infrared cameras that count people and assess actual office occupancy; elevators, doors, or even lavatories operating in IoT technology, and even parking barriers opening automatically after reading number plates. As a result, many of these applications, in order to be fully used, should be made available to companies by office managers.

JLL: Infogrid monitors office space using IoT

The system allows for an automated office management thanks to IoT sensors and AI algorithms. Sensors collect data about rooms, including temperature, humidity, or air quality, which is then regulated by an AI system. The assumption is that Infogrid will reduce operational costs by optimizing resource use and increasing team work efficiency. During the COVID-19 pandemic it was additionally used to ensure office safety and cleanliness by monitoring the number of people in rooms and other safety measures.

Skanska: Connected by Skanska (CbS) offers comprehensive office building management

The platform, integrated with the office building, allows for a full optimization of how the building area is used, including intelligent room booking, combining office systems, locating employees, or even recommending park places. It operates in three scopes:

1) intelligent building infrastructure,

2) specialized fit-out, and

3) sustainable development supporting services.

Additionally, CbS minimizes the pandemic risk by enabling contactless use of common areas. This solution was first implemented in the Spark office building in Warsaw, but ultimately is meant to operate in all Skanska office buildings in the region.

Karimpol: the Skyline App for the common safety

In their newest building, the Skyliner in Warsaw, the Karimpol company has implemented a modern building application that limits touching common areas to the minimum, allows effective work space management, and informs about the number of people currently in the office. Skyliner APP offers many different options. The application recognizes the phone of an employee registered in the building database and shows them which elevator they should use to get to their office as fast as possible. It also enables contactless passage around the building. Motorized users have the option to book a parking place. The “office space” function allows the users to book common areas, conference rooms, and desks in advance, and to manage customers visits.

Communication and promotion

Communication and promotion are an important component of change management. Similar is the case with implementing new business models and the return of employees to their offices after a long period of working from home. Office area managers may be of help here by promoting behaviours that adhere to sanitary guidelines (e.g. rewards for wearing masks), or communicating safety standards implemented in the company, for instance through a building certification system. But these are not the only actions available.

One of the main elements of successful return to the office is to convince the lessees and their employees that office offers them access to services or goods that are difficult to obtain while working from home. This means new forms of promoting employee integration and persuading them to come to the office: concerts and events with celebrities organized after hours, weekend family gatherings, and also additional services (free or with a discount): in beauty salons, doctor’s offices, bike service centres, or laundries situated in the office building.

All these should be communicated to employees working from outside the office. This could be done by regularly issued podcasts or vlogs recorded in the office area. People who rarely come to the office could then maintain their ties to it and to their co-workers, and in case of those afraid to return because of health issues such programs could help understand that the building and company are safe and that their absence is detrimental to their integration with the team.

CBRE: an audit guarantees office safety

In one of the offices in Warsaw city centre administered by CBRE an independent international research laboratory SGS conducted a safety and cleanliness audit in terms of implemented procedures – it evaluated protocols, use of cleaning materials, or cleaning service quality in common areas. The aim of the control was to make employees feel safe in the building and encourage them to return to the office. Those who decided to return were welcomed with a special event entitled “Nice to See You” – they were offered virtual invitations for coffee or hot chocolate in the coffee shop in the building.

CPIPG: the “Summer Santa” event encourages to respect social distancing

“Summer Santa” is an event promoting safe and responsible behaviour in CPIPG office buildings. During his visits in the summer months, Santa reminds the employees they are obliged to cover their mouth and nose in their place of work. People wearing masks were rewarded with a sweet surprise, thus encouraging others to adhere to current safety regulations. The campaign helped increase the awareness of dangers from failing to keep proper social distance at work required by law. “Summer Santa” took place in 2021.

Ghelamco: certified building ready for stationary workers

Ghelamco – basing on the company’s internal analyses and in cooperation with the scientific communities – have prepared the so-called ‘pandemic mode’. It is an integrated package of technological solutions and rules of proceeding. For example, UV lamps were installed in elevators and AC systems; and Signal OS, the building’s operating system, was enhanced with a mobile app allowing for contactless moving around the buildings and providing information about safety measures. The pandemic mode created by Ghelamco was subjected to assessment by independent experts – The Warsaw HUB buildings were awarded the WELL Health-Safety Rating certificate, and other buildings are currently undergoing advanced certification process.

Globalworth: “I miss the office” campaign encourages employees to work in the office

In cooperation with its media partners, Globalworth is running radio and Internet campaigns with the aim to rebuild ties between office workers as well as their feeling of belonging. As part of the four-week campaign, invited experts debate about positive aspects of working in offices and answer how home office has influenced their life. Based on their responses and messages from the listeners, the organizers prepare an online journal containing 20 things most missed by remote workers. So far, two editions of the campaign were organized: in the Autumn of 2020 and the Winter of 2021. The first edition collected over 2000 listener responses.


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  • 207 of the Labour Code: Fundamental obligations of the employer in terms of OHS.
  • 226 of the Labour Code: Documentation and information about occupational risk; occupational risk assessment sheet.
  • Knight Frank, 2020, Kierunki zmian w budynkach biurowych.
  • Leesman, 2020, Workplace brief: The Office Group, [Retrieved: 20.01.2021].
  • Leesman, 2021, Measure Remote Working, [Retrieved: 20.01.2021].
  • Owl Labs, 2019, State of Remote Work, [Retrieved: 08.10.2021].
  • Roberts T., 2016, We Spend 90% of Our Time Indoors, Building Green, [Retrieved: 20.01.2021].
  • Savills, SAVILLS OFFICE FiT. Adapt, Evolve, ImproveSurvey results: One Year On. Balancing business needs and employee preferences, Spring 2021.
  • Stave G., Smith S., Hymel P., Heron R., 2021, Worksite Temperature Screening for COVID-19, Journal of Occupation and Environmental Medicine, 63 (8), 638-641.

Experts who participated in foresight training session

  1. Zofia Smełka-Leszczyńska – Hill&Knowlton
  2. Dorota Osiecka – Colliers
  3. Karolina Dudek – Colliers
  4. Tomasz Bojęć – ThinkCo.
  5. Jerzy Brodzikowski - CIC Warsaw, ex-HubHub

Host: Adam Czerniak – Polityka Insight



Adam Czerniak – Research Director, Polityka Insight

Tomasz Bojęć – Managing Partner, ThinkCo

In cooperation with:

Jakub Piznal – Junior Analyst, Polityka Insight

Marta Cymerman – Polityka Insight

Edited by:

Anna Chyckowska

Polityka Insight would like to thank all experts who took part in foresight training sessions. All opinions expressed in the report remain the sole responsibility of the authors.

The following report is impartial and objective. The partners had no influence on the arguments or message of the report.

All rights reserved.

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