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Do You Have a Chief Happiness Officer Yet?

Lars Wiederhold
Lars Wiederhold
Editor for Immobilien Zeitung
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German office workers tend to make rather classical demands on their workplaces. But different needs arise with new generations. They range from the technical infrastructure all the way to a Chief Happiness Officer.


According to a JLL study presented at EXPO REAL it is more important for German office workers to be able to work with full concentration than it is for their colleagues in other countries. At the same time only 49 percent of the respondents believe that they are really effective at their present office workplace.

Germans Shy Away From New Workplace Models

In Germany a fear of adopting new workplace models seems to be prevailing. 83 percent are currently working in closed offices, which is 28 percent more than the international average. 44 percent are not willing to swap their room for a place in an open-plan office, even if it is an innovative space. This attachment is also reflected by the fact that the respondents spend 72 percent of their working time at their own workplace. Only 26 percent of the respondents partly work in so-called third spaces, such as internet cafés or coworking spaces. Only 5 percent of the Germans interviewed like the idea of so-called hot desking, which means that a workplace is available to several employees depending on the time.

JLL believes that there are historic reasons for holding on to traditions, because the closed office is established in Germany to a greater extent than in many other countries. Looking at younger generations, however, traditional office concepts should be reviewed, because they tend to work more on individual projects and in teams. But the new cooperation methods impose special requirements on the technical infrastructure of office buildings, so that, e.g., video conferences can be held. Being able to log in with mobile devices throughout the building is also a matter of course.

A “Room to Sleep in” is Good for People’s Health

But it is all more about the wellbeing of the employees than such technical achievements. A room to sleep in during brief breaks could help reduce sick leave. 83 percent of the respondents thought it was a good or even very good idea to employ a Chief Happiness Officer whose job it is to look after the atmosphere in the company.

Multi-service provider Sodexo takes up the issue of wellbeing in another study which was presented at the trade fair. It makes sense to react to the increasing amalgamation of working time and free time. In the competition for the best minds “Workplace 4.0” gives an important competitive edge. According to the company’s study catering is the most popular add-on benefit for employees. The provision of health services, such as ergonomic furniture or medical examinations, is also very attractive. Sports is slightly less of a focus for employees. A lot can be done, e.g., with concepts of child care in the company building or near it.


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