Is working from home here to stay?

Peninsula Team

August 19 2022

First published: August 19th, 2022
Last Updated: August 19th, 2022

Apple recently announced that it wants US-based remote employees to return to the office in September.

While this news may signal a change in employer attitudes toward remote work, recent research is also showing that Irish employees want to continue working from home in some capacity. 

If Irish employers follow Apple’s lead, it seems likely that there may be some push back from their employees.

Let’s take a look at this issue and how it might impact your business...  

Majority of Irish employees favour remote work arrangements

While many employers responded admirably to the challenges of lockdowns by enabling remote work almost overnight, not all businesses would have envisaged that remote working would be a permanent set up.

Now that life is largely returning to normal, many business owners are likely considering how to encourage staff to return to the office.

Discussing this issue with staff may be more complicated than simply sending an email informing staff that they must return to the office for work. Two recent pieces of research revealed that a strong majority of Irish workers want to continue working from home in some capacity.

A study carried out by Trinity College Dublin and the National Transport Authority found that 78% of Irish employees want to continue working from home to varying extents.

Separately, a report by California-based tech company Poly found that employees in Ireland were the least enthusiastic about a return to the office, with 83% of employees polled stating their preference for working from home. 

Encouraging staff to return from remote work

These numbers suggest that many Irish employers will face some resistance to any efforts to have staff return to the office.

If some agreement cannot be reached, you may risk losing strong employees who are hard to replace. To retain any staff who are keen to continue working from home, consider putting an effective hybrid model in place.

In a very competitive jobs market, this could be the best way to stop your business losing staff to a competitor who will facilitate working from home.

Build a hybrid work culture

Not all businesses can facilitate remote working, but if a hybrid working environment allowed your business to survive during the pandemic, there are ways to make it work on a more long-term basis.

Hybrid working requires commitment and the development of a hybrid workplace culture. This will require input on both the employee and employer side.

To encourage staff to return to the workplace, consider the following principles:

  • Invest in the development and implementation of hybrid work policies and strategies.
  • Invest in the workplace, make it a pleasant place where employees will be keen to return to work.
  • Identify what work is not suitable for remote working and explain to staff why they will be required to work onsite or in-person on specified days or times.
  • Invest in training. Managing remote teams may require training in communications technology together with the benefits and risks of remote working.
  • Avoid ultimatums. Seek to find some middle ground that will allow you both to get the best out of a hybrid model.
  • Carry out regular risk assessments. Your duty to ensure a safe place of work extends to employees who are working remotely.
  • Establish clear objectives. Ensure that your employees are aware that the hybrid model will only be maintained if productivity targets are hit. If the hybrid approach is having a negative impact on profitability, attendance, or other objective measures, the hybrid model may need to be reconfigured.

Remote work: risks and opportunities

People can be wary of change. To successfully transition to a long-term hybrid working model, keep the lines of communication open and let everyone know what’s expected.

With commitment and ongoing communication, you can avoid the risks and profit from the opportunities that a hybrid model presents.

Peninsula can help you get the most from remote work in Ireland

Remote work requires commitment and a bespoke policy setting out how it will work for your business. Luckily for you, our consultants have years of experience developing employment documentation for employers.

For more on how Peninsula can help, call 1800 719 216.

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