A group of colleagues working together in an office with workplaces returning.
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Survey: Half of business leaders see workplaces reopening in Q4

23 Apr 2021

In the latest survey from the Institute of Directors, the majority of business leaders said following current Government advice around remote working remains a priority.

Business leaders in Ireland believe most staff could be returning to workplaces by the end of 2021. That’s according to the Institute of Directors’ latest survey, which was completed by 245 of its members.

While remote and hybrid working look set to continue for many, some major companies have already started to firm up their plans for returning to the office, including Salesforce and Microsoft.

According to the survey, many believe it could be the end of the year before we see Irish workplaces reopening. Of the survey respondents, 53pc said they believed that the national vaccination programme will help the economy fully reopen in the final quarter of 2021.

Nearly half (48pc) said they expect that most staff will return to their offices at that time, while 19pc said they don’t see this happening until early 2022. Just 9pc said that either all or most of their employees would be working remotely in the future.

In another Institute of Directors survey last June, 40pc of business leaders had said they were expecting to have an equal mix of remote and in-office workers after the pandemic.

In this latest survey, two-thirds said they think employers should continue to follow the Government’s advice that non-essential staff work remotely, and 22pc said they believe that the advice should be further refined.

The biggest risk to workplaces reopening is delays in the vaccine roll-out, according to 30pc of leaders. Others said it could be an extension of level-five restrictions (21pc), negative consumer confidence (6pc) or political and economic instability (6pc).

Chief executive of the Institute of Directors, Maura Quinn, described the attitude of employers surveyed towards Government advice as “reassuring”.

“Patience and compliance will serve everyone best over the coming weeks and months,” she said.

Last month, a report led by Aon suggested that employers should devise a phased approach when returning to offices. It said companies could prioritise new hires, younger employees and teams that rely on collaboration as these cohorts may face the biggest hurdles with remote working.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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