Almost half of Irish workers don’t want to return to office

The pandemic has changed the way we all live our day to day lives and none more so than the way we work, a new Esri Ireland study confirms.

Close to half (43pc) of Irish people don’t want to return to the office and at least 10pc would consider moving to a more rural location now that they can work from home. 51pc of those surveyed said they would like to be able to work from home at least part-time.

That’s according to the latest study by geographic information specialist Esri Ireland which turned up some very interesting facts about the considerations people now have when deciding where they live.

“Covid-19 has made all of us more aware of our localities and the various amenities available to us”

The move to remote working seems to have been a success overall, with 43pc saying they would prefer to stay on working from home after restrictions are eased while more than half say they would like to work remotely at least part-time.

The research revealed that one in 10 respondents (which translates to more than 360,000 of the overall population) would consider moving to a more rural location now that they can work from home.

Location, location, location

Man in suit beside maps.

Paul Synnott, managing director, Esri Ireland

The survey also highlighted the current discrepancies in access to services and amenities between urban and rural settings.

When choosing a location to live, the survey uncovered a wide variety of factors that feed into homeowners and renters decision making process. More than three-quarters of respondents say the cost of renting or buying a property is a key consideration, making it the number one factor. Other top considerations include proximity to work, chosen by 59pc, and distance to shops, cited by half of adults.

Despite the possibility of more people considering moving to rural locations (10pc), the survey also found that numerous discrepancies between access to amenities and services in rural and urban settings.

Of those living in rural locations, 39pc believe that they have poor or very poor access to healthcare.

Some 34pc said access to Garda and emergency services is poor or very poor and 32pc said likewise for access to libraries – all rating worse than their urban and suburban counterparts.

The research also found there to be some serious concerns about 5G masts in vicinity of a property. Almost half (47pc) of adults in Ireland said that they would be unhappy to have a 5G base station erected within 500m of their home, with 44pc of those saying that the impact on their health is their main concern.

“The insights revealed as part of our survey into where we live are very interesting – particularly given the last year of remote working,” said Paul Synnott, managing director of Esri Ireland.

“Covid-19 has made all of us more aware of our localities and the various amenities available to us. With more people considering a move to a more permanent working-from-home set-up, this survey highlights areas where locals are not adequately served by essential services and amenities.

“Using location intelligence, city and county planners can better determine areas requiring additional public and private sector investment, to ensure a growing and more dispersed remote workforce has access to adequate supports and amenities. This is not limited to services that simply enable remote working, but extends to the recreational, educational, retail, healthcare and childcare facilities that we all need to navigate our daily lives,” Synnott added.

By John Kennedy (

Published: 8 February 2021