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Irish businesses start preparations to return to the workplace, says Ibec

78% of businesses who responded are planning on returning to the workplace by September.

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IRISH BUSINESSES ARE beginning their preparations to return to workplaces, with 29% expecting to return by September according to new research by Ibec.

While 29% are expecting to have returned to workplaces by September, 28% will be returning in line with Government advice or the completion of the vaccine rollout. One in five (21%) of organisations expect to be back in the workplace in the next three months.

This is a total of 78% of businesses who believe they will be returning to the workplace in or before September.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar had previously said that it was unlikely that workers would be returning to offices before September, and that the Government continues to emphasise working from home. 

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy says that clarity from the Government is needed on the return to the workplace and that a roadmap is needed.

“Clarity from Government on the timing of graduated workplace reopening is now key for companies in order to reignite collaboration, culture and confidence in their workforce,” said McCoy.

Government’s roadmap must be aligned with an ongoing review of reopening timelines that reflects the risk reduction that the vaccine programme is delivering. This means a potential earlier gradual return to workplaces than the previously flagged expected return time of September.

Other findings from the report show that over four-fifths of businesses (81%) expect to bring in some form of hybrid working after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Just 15% of businesses who responded will bring all of their employees back to the workplace, while 4% are planning on keeping some employees fully remote.

For businesses looking for introduce hybrid working, 20% of respondents are planning on having workers onsite for three days a week, with 13% planning two days a week. Many businesses have not finalised their plans (17%), and some will be flexible depending on the role of the employee (13%).

A majority of businesses who responded (74%) have had some employees working onsite with others working offsite. Only one-fifth (20%) of businesses had their entire staff working from home, and fewer than one in 20 (4%) had all employees on site.

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More businesses are planning on introducing supports for their employees post-pandemic, with 53% of businesses planning on introducing physical wellbeing supports indefinitely while 21% plan to offer them for a period of time.

Alongside this, 61% of businesses plan to introduce supports for mental and emotional wellbeing on a permanent basis, while 20% will introduce them for a period of time.

Ibec’s research was carried out using 370 responses from Irish businesses, ranging from companies with fewer than 50 employees to ones with more than 500.

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