A new survey from the National Recruitment Federation looked at how people in Ireland are experiencing working from home.
As physical distancing measures continue in Ireland, a new survey from the National Recruitment Federation (NRF) found that, out of 512 respondents, many are feeling happier while working from home but are also concerned about their finances.
Almost half of those surveyed, 49pc, have already seen a reduction in their salary or are expecting to see one in the near future as a result of Covid-19 and related disruptions. Those most likely to be impacted, according to the NRF survey, include employees in sales and professional services, people based in Dublin and those on salaries less than €50,000 a year.
The survey was carried out by research company Opinions. It asked individuals working from home about their experiences of remote working and the practical and emotional impacts. Participants ranged from those living alone to those living with children, and more than half were previously working in a physical office for five days a week.
A balancing act
When asked about their outlook on job security, just one in four respondents said that they are very confident about being kept on by their employer after the pandemic. However, 46pc are quite confident about their job security.
The survey also found that some workers are evaluating their career as a result of the pandemic, with four in 10 considering a new role or opportunity elsewhere.
‘Leaving aside economic concerns, the notion of a remote-working revolution in the future must be seriously examined by employers’
– DONAL O’DONOGHUE
Overall, the NRF found that 59pc of respondents are happier when working remotely. NRF president Donal O’Donoghue said that many responses to the survey indicated a preference to continue working from home in the future.
“On balance, it seems, we are happier working from home and almost seven in 10 say they would be happy to work remotely in future,” he said. “So, leaving aside economic concerns, the notion of a remote-working revolution in the future must be seriously examined by employers.”
Positives and challenges
When asked about the best aspects of working from home, the majority of the survey’s participants said that not having a daily commute was the top benefit. Others included not needing to dress or appear in a certain way, not having to spend money on lunches and having the flexibility to work when suits them.
Respondents were divided on the subject of productivity, with responses suggesting either a similar or lower level of productivity while working from home. Only one-fifth of workers said they feel a lot more productive.
The survey suggested that missing social interaction is the biggest challenge facing people as they work from home. This was listed as separate to engagement with colleagues about work-related issues, which was still seen as a challenge to a lesser extent.
Other challenges cited included getting into the right frame of mind to get work done, distractions posed by other family members, and children in particular, and poor broadband connectivity.
The NRF noted, however, there are many factors currently in play that would not normally impact remote working, including concerns about job security and children being at home.
“Post Covid-19, we expect cost-savings and logistics issues like reduced commuting to tip the balance in favour of working from home for many,” O’Donoghue said. “Interaction with colleagues, socially and professionally, can still happen with various technologies, although outside of the main urban areas reliable broadband infrastructure will be crucial.”
The future of work
Based on the survey’s findings, the NRF said working from home is a practice that should be thoroughly considered as commonplace once the Covid-19 pandemic has eased. Although productivity levels will need to be looked at, the NRF added, it identified this as an impact of the pandemic and the “unique circumstances” currently facing the country.
“Increasingly, global data in the recruitment sector confirms that remote workers are more productive than their office-based counterparts,” O’Donoghue said. “Out of the office, they report less distractions and less stress, largely due to greater autonomy.
“Enabling some sort of home-working arrangement would appear sensible, both from an employee satisfaction and productivity perspective. Time and money savings for employees make economic sense and employers will also reckon in the need for less office space and infrastructure for remote workers too.”