Most companies want staggered return to work

Two thirds of Irish employers plan a staggered return to work with 62 per cent of companies going for a phased return based on personal health risks related to Covid-19 while half have plans for employees to  return to work depending on how critical their role is to the business, a report by recruitment agency Robert Walters Ireland indicates.

The next most popular strategy is the creation of smaller work groups on 46 per cent, followed by a voluntary return scheme on 41 per cent, changing work hours and splitting shifts – both on 35 per cent. A third of Irish businesses say they will base their strategy on local infection rates, while 29 per cent have as yet no return to work strategy.

Return to work strategies Irish employers are planning 
Staggering return to work based on employees’ own health risks related to Covid-19 (e.g. respiratory or chronic conditions) 62%
Staggering employees return depending on how critical their role is to the business 49%
Creating smaller workgroups to limit mixing of employees/groups in the workplace 46%
Offering employees the opportunity to volunteer to come back to the office 41%
Changing working hours to avoid busy commuting periods 35%
Splitting employees into shifts based on specific criteria (e.g. by name A-M and P-Z work different days) 35%
Returning to work strategies will be based on local infection rates and risk (e.g. different strategies by location) 32%
Not sure, we have not yet considered a return to work strategy 29%

The report shows that 93 per cent of employees would like more opportunities to work from home, with 11 per cent happy to work from home permanently. While 79 per cent of firms say Covid-19 will encourage business heads to allow employees to work from home more often, they also cite concerns over productivity, senior leadership preferring ‘normal’ ways of working and the nature of the business as key barriers to achieving this.

It seems it is not just business heads who are anticipating changes to the future workplace, with employees expecting more flexibility to work from home (89 per cent), investment in better tech (47 per cent), more autonomy (39 per cent), changes to the office layout (37 per cent), a new focus on well-being (25 per cent), changes to work hours (16 per cent), faster decision making (12 per cent), and changes to performance measures (15 per cent).

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