Savills News

Flexible work and new generational motivations ditate changes in workplaces

  • 43% of employees would like to work downtown
  • Only 13% would like to work in a Hotdesk scheme
  • 23.9% of employees wish they could work from home
  • 48% of employees state that their current company culture encourages them to work flexibly every day
  • 34% said they would like to spend 15 minutes less on their daily commute (each way)


Savills presented today, at the Creative Hub of Beato, in Lisbon, the first edition of its latest study “What Workers Want”, with the aim of knowing the trends that motivate the office market and how they relate to the space and design used.

Today it is paramount “to know the employees and to understand their behaviours, their motivations, their needs and demands in terms of well-being. Listening to those who work with us is extremely important,” said Patrícia de Melo e Liz, CEO of Savills Portugal. "The way the next generations conceive their work will clearly have an increasing impact on real estate decisions," she added.

In an event which was opened by Patrícia de Melo e Liz and Joana Rodrigues, Architecture Director of the company, were also invited as speakers José Mota Leal, Startup Lisbon Project Manager, João Pedro Tavares, ACEGE President, who addressed the theme of Family vs. Conciliation vs Work and Henrique Pulido, Brisa's Human Resources Director, who gave his perspective on the subject.

“Most managers are unaware of the needs of their teams. On the other hand, many of the employees are not properly involved and integrated into the organization they represent. According to an American study, 7 out of 10 people do not feel committed to the company where they work.

With this study we want to inspire and support all leaders and CEO's in preparing the future workspace that will absorb new ideals” said Joana Rodrigues, Architecture Director of Savills Portugal.

Also present at the event were Mike Barnes, Research Department of Savills Europe, and Alexandra Portugal Gomes, Research Department of Savills Portugal, who had the opportunity to present the results of the What Workers Want study in Europe and Portugal, respectively; Odile Beranger, Concept Designer of Interface Spain and Portugal, who addressed the issue of biophilia in the workplace; Dan Gardner, Workplace Analyst of KKS Savills, who presented future workspace trends, and Nuno Fideles, Savills Portugal Architect with BREEAM AP accreditation, who addressed the issue of sustainability in architecture and how this international method of certification Environmental change can make a difference in the construction and rehabilitation of real estate.

In this context, the first edition of the study “What Workers Want Portugal” was presented, especially dedicated to the knowledge of the main trends that motivate the Portuguese real estate market. In this study developed by Savills, 1,005 employees from various companies in our country were surveyed to reveal trends that motivate the office market and how they relate to the space and design used.

As Alexandra Portugal Gomes, Senior Analyst, Research Department at Savills Portugal comments: “Office spaces are changing at the same time as new generational motivations are also changing. There was a need to stimulate creativity and encourage group work. ”

According to the Savills study, 55% of employees work in open space and 40% in closed rooms and / or offices. Noise has been found to have no negative impact, and some companies have already implemented common workspaces for some industries. However, due to the nature of their work, others still choose to work in an individual office environment.

Given the results, 43% of employees would like to work in the city center and 22% in the outskirts of the city. These results support the need to develop projects in the city center, where the largest percentage of skilled labour is concentrated, facilitating recruitment.

The current reality is that location is one of the most important factors when applying for a job offer: 50% of surveyed employees report that location is at the top of the list when asked what they consider most important for accepting a job. a job. “The salary is no longer in the foreground. We only have the true perception of these data when conducting such surveys,” adds Alexandra Portugal Gomes.

On the other hand, 36% of corporate employees prefer to work at their own desk or in a space for each employee. Only 13% would like to opt for a Hotdesk scheme. This option generates mixed feelings among employees, as 34% believe it is a sharing space, 46% say it can increase productivity and 29% believe it has no impact.

It is undeniable that a Hotdesk space is an excellent solution for optimizing underused spaces throughout the day, but it can also cause a sense of non-belonging and thereby affect the productivity and emotional well-being of employees.

In 2019, one of the major trends found is the preference for working from home, in which about 23.9% of employees questioned said they wish they could work from home. However, only 14% have the opportunity to do so, with 55% being women.

The constant introduction of new technologies has created conditions for the emergence of new forms of work. In Portugal, working from home is not yet a reality for most employees. According to Eurofund data (2017), only 2% of the national population was in this scheme on a regular basis. However, for certain activities it is a method that may be considered unattractive, especially in sectors where more traditional management and more direct control is required.

“We spend 2/3 of our time working, so it is so important to retain talent, the workplace, the leadership. It is estimated that within 20 years (Generation Z), the large percentage of employees will work from home and have a very flexible working time” adds João Pedro Tavares, President of ACEGE.

When asked about whether their company culture encourages productivity and whether access to technology facilitates work flexibility, 48% of employees state that their company encourages them to work flexibly every day. This indicator suggests that a more flexible work environment is already a reality for many companies.

A more flexible working environment must have an impact on the real estate sector, influencing the traditional relationship between owners and occupiers. Collective workspaces have provided companies with a more flexible and affordable option.

In answer to the question: If you could, what would change in your current workplace? 19.5% of employees assume that they would change their personal workspace, 14.8% management and 13.1% the duration of travel.

On the other hand, regarding the proper planning of office space and whether it contributes to the organization's success, 28.7% of employees state that they have no control over the layout of their work area and 33.9%. have a neutral stance on this subject. The study also revealed that 53.5% of respondents would like to have control over their workspace and 50.2% say that their current employer has never asked for an opinion about office layout.

The ideal space begins by satisfying and ensuring the basic comfort needs of employees. “Maintaining cleanliness, comfort in the work area, temperature quality and lighting were some of the factors pointed out by company employees as the most important. These data are surprising, as ensuring that employees have the basic levels of comfort should be an unquestionable obligation, giving way now to other factors” says Alexandra Portugal Gomes.

Cleanliness of the space is considered the most important factor (93%), and only 65% of employees said they were satisfied with the cleanliness of their office.

With regard to mobility, 34% said they would like to spend 15 minutes less on their daily commute (in each direction) for the company and 29% would add 15 minutes if it meant working at their ideal office. Only employees aged 18-24 (28%) would be willing to add 30 minutes to work in their perfect office. Already 11% say they don't want to add any time to their commute, even if it means working in a better office.

“The percentages show that there is not much room for maneuver in relation to the location factor. The Lisbon office market currently has near-zero availability rates in the city center, which significantly reduces business choice. However, the market has gained some business migration movements to other market areas, since Lisbon is a city with a complete transport network, which facilitates mobility, ”says Alexandra Portugal Gomes, Senior Analyst, Research Department of Savills Portugal.


New generations are transforming the notion of well-being, making companies broaden their horizons and consider new strategies in this area. The impact of employee happiness on companies is a theme that is increasingly present in the agendas of organizations. “Undoubtedly, corporate productivity is intrinsically linked to the levels of well-being and satisfaction of those who are part of the company: their comments, ideas and suggestions must be heard by the directors in order to increase happiness and recognition. We always try to make our employees live more broadly and create a relationship of trust with the company where they work” said Henrique Pulido, Human Resources Director at Brisa.

Given these factors, 55% of employees are satisfied at their place of work, 34% have a neutral opinion and 11% are not at all satisfied.

These are encouraging results, although the percentage of neutral responses reveals that there are still many improvements to be made in this area.

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