Return to office boomerang

Workers back at the office are now reconsidering over Covid concerns.

More than a quarter of people who are currently back in the office in Ireland are reconsidering or will reduce/stop their attendance due to rising Covid-19 concerns.

A survey by Irish broadband player Pure Telecom found that already more than half of Ireland’s office workers (56pc) are back at the office on a full or part-time basis. This figure includes 14pc who said they never stopped going to the office.

“Even in the long-term, it is clear that employees do not want to be back in the office full-time and it is encouraging to see that businesses are planning to implement hybrid working strategies”

The survey of 500 office workers in Ireland, carried out by Censuswide carried out in October 2021 on behalf of Pure Telecom, found that 8pc of office workers are planning to return in some capacity by the end of the year, while 13pc expect to return between January and March 2022.

Digital disconnect

Of those currently going to the office, more than a quarter (27pc) are reconsidering attending, or will reduce or stop their attendance, due to concerns over Covid-19 case numbers. In addition, 5pc of office workers are delaying their return due to recent Covid concerns.

Pure Telecom’s survey found that the majority of office workers have plans to return to the office eventually, however they will spend less time there. One in five office workers will return to the office full time, and some 66pc of office workers will be office-based on a hybrid or full-time basis post-Covid restrictions. The average office worker will be in the office three days per week, while a third (32pc) will work two days or fewer in the office. Only 6pc will not return at all.

“Our research shows that the future of the workplace is hybrid,” said Pure Telecom CEO Paul Connell. “Almost half of our office-based workforce is yet to return to the office in any capacity and when they do, they will not be basing themselves there fulltime. Employers who can adapt and embrace this change will lead the way in this new era of modern working.

“Covid-19 is still having a big impact on work practices and the latest public health advice highlights the continued need for flexible working arrangements. But even in the long-term, it is clear that employees do not want to be back in the office full-time and it is encouraging to see that businesses are planning to implement hybrid working strategies. People need flexibility and the pandemic has proven that work doesn’t necessarily need to be a place.”

The new research also found that men are more likely to have their employer pay at least part of their telecoms bill to support remote working. A fifth (21pc) of men say their employer is completely, or partially, paying for their telecoms bill, compared to just 14pc of women. Younger workers are also more likely to get employer support for paying their telecoms bills, with one-third of Gen Zs saying their bill is being partially or fully paid by their employer.

“We were surprised to see that there is a discrepancy between male and female office workers when it comes to the financial supports offered to them. It’s clear that employers need formalised hybrid working policies that are equal for all in order to attract and retain the best talent and to ensure success in the modern workplace.”

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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