Just one-third of Irish people plan to return to the office when pandemic ends, study shows

Just one-third of Irish people plan to return to the office when pandemic ends, study shows

A RECENT study has indicated that just over a third of Irish workers are planning to return to the office on a full-time basis once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

The study, which was conducted by Aon and recruitment firm Sigmar, saw CEOs, human resource directors and other business executives from over 250 Irish businesses quizzed about the future of their workforce.

Results suggest that only 34% of workers are planning to return to a full working week at the office.

They also show that 22% of employees will remain working from home on a permanent basis, even after the Covid-19 crisis dissipates, while 44% of workers will alternate between office work and working from home.

Of that 44%, the vast majority of them (91%) are planning to spend a maximum of three days per week in the office.

Speaking to RTÉ's The Business, Sigmar Recruitment's Chief Corporation Officer Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig said the findings were "very, very stark".

"This is the most change in any one year and it's clear that we've now been harpooned into the future of work," he said.

Working from home

"It's raised some serious fundamental questions of where, by whom and how work will get done as restrictions lift."

It's understood that as many as 81% of Irish employees are currently working from home, 13% are working in the office full-time, and 6% are splitting their time between the office and home.

Mr Mac Giolla Phadraig went on to warn of a number of problems that would arise from long term remote working.

"We're presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to create better work for our people," he said. "But at the same time, there's a chance and a risk that we introduce unknown biases amongst our workforce as we reconnect them over the coming weeks and months.

"Fundamentally that comes down to this concept of proximity bias. Those who spend longer with management build up this management capital and therefore are more visible.

"They get promoted and they get recognition that the remote workforce might not get. We need to approach this with caution," he added.