26 Sept 2022

Two-thirds of Irish employers planning a ‘staggered’ return to work

Two-thirds of Irish employers planning a ‘staggered’ return to work

Half of companies slash travel and expenses budgets in cost-saving exercise

62% of employers are planning to stagger return to work based on employees’ own health risks related to Covid-19, whilst 49% will be staggering employees return depending on how critical their role is to the business.

The next most popular strategy is the creation of smaller work groups (46%), followed by a voluntary return scheme (41%), changing work hours (35%) and splitting shifts (35%).

A third (32%) of Irish businesses have stated that they will base their return-to-work strategy on local infection rates.

29% of companies have admitted to not yet considering what their return to work strategy may be.

The findings come from a recent survey from leading recruiter Robert Walters, with the global findings published in the whitepaper titled Returning to the New World of Work.

Legacy of remote working

93% of Irish employees would like more opportunities to work from home post-return, with 11% stating that they would like to work from home permanently.

Whilst 79% of firms have stated that the experience of Covid-19 will encourage business heads to have employees work from home more often, they also cite concerns over employee productivity (64%), senior leadership preferring traditional ways of working (57%), and the nature of the business e.g. face-to-face sales (36%), as the key barriers to achieving this.

Cost saving at the core

Implementing headcount freezes (45%), utilising government unemployment schemes (30%) and voluntary annual leave (23%) were some of the most popular instant measures Irish companies took in response to the virus. It is thought that use of government schemes by employers has grown significantly in two months.

Now as workplaces are able to reopen it seems that cost saving remains at the core of business strategy, with a reduction in office space (50%) and a reduction in travel budgets by switching to virtual meetings (47%) being the key tactics considered by companies.

When it comes to recruitment, firms have already switched up their processes to be more cost and time efficient with 56% looking to continue with virtual interviews, 50% with online assessments and 61% with remote onboarding.

Adaption necessary

Three quarters of employers admit that their senior team have not been equipped to manage teams remotely, and will need new training to be able to adapt to new ways of working including being more empathetic to work-life balance (81%), focusing on outcomes rather than work hours (69%), improving on virtual communication (61%), a better understanding of mental health and wellbeing (44%), and creating a more collaborative environment (33%).

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