A Hybrid Working Model
Just 18% of workers would choose to work remotely full time suggesting the future of work will operate on a hybrid or blended working model. Two days in the workplace is the preference (31%), followed closely by three days (28%), and just 3% citing they would like to return to a traditional workplace setting full time.
This varies by industry, with 24% of tech workers preferring a fully remote arrangement, compared to only 6% of sales professionals. Looking to the future, companies, and employees will need to understand that working options and preferences will vary depending on the business requirements and responsibilities of the role.
Employees are conscious of this with 40% of workers accepting that an agreement with their manager is the best way to organise their working schedule and 41% stating they would return to a traditional work setting if requested by their employer.
Predicted challenges for employers include managing a blended team of in-office and remote workers simultaneously and training managers to enable them to collaborate with both subsets of workers.
Working at Home and the Effect on Productivity & Wellbeing
According to almost 70% of workers, remote working and the lack of commute, have positively impacted their wellbeing. These workers now have more time to spend exercising, upskilling, and enjoying time with family (48%). Moreover, 89% feel that their productivity levels are the same or greater since the shift to home working. This figure remains the same regardless of whether the worker has a family or not.
Conversely, the lack of social interaction, increased loneliness, recurring national lockdowns, and a surging inability to switch off, have negatively affected 22% of workers. In fact, 24% cite they are now working longer hours and using their pre-pandemic commuter time to work more.
The new government strategy is working on a legally admissible code of practice on the right to disconnect and help workers to switch off. However, employers need to play their part too and should look at creating a charter setting out the specific practices that will work for their business. This could contain parameters on when emails should not be sent or answered.
Also, strong communication systems will be essential to sustain peer-to-peer learning and social interaction remotely. Virtual events outside of the day-to-day planning and strategy meetings can also be beneficial.
New Working Model, New Priorities
Benefits that allow people more personal time and flexibility are the new non-negotiables for 2021. Workers' priorities when looking for a new job include a competitive salary and compensation package (23%), work-life balance (18%), career progression (17%), and flexible working (16%).
However, since the pandemic, 44% say their priorities have shifted, with a better work-life balance (31%) and option to work remotely (27%), now outweighing both compensation (19%) and career progression (13%). In fact, 1/3 of workers would consider the same or even a lower salary for the opportunity to work remotely indefinitely.
To retain and attract talent, flexibility, clear upskilling opportunities, and career progression plans will be essential benefits to negotiate.
The Dispersion of Talent
The freedom of movement offered by remote work has opened the option for workers to move closer to family or relocate out of the city (or country).
Since the pandemic, 15% of workers have relocated all or part of the time, with 60% located outside of Dublin and 15% outside of Ireland (locations include Lisbon, Dubai, and Croatia).
Unsurprisingly, the ability to relocate or not has been heavily influenced by industry, with 0% of construction workers able to relocate versus almost 1/3 of marketers.
Across all industries, 54% are hoping to stay in their new location post-pandemic. Employers need to factor this into their remote working policy where possible in order to accommodate and retain valued workers.
Increased Interest in Relocating for Work
54% of workers stated that they would be willing to relocate for the right job or company. The most attractive locations within Ireland, include Dublin (33%), Cork (17%), Galway (17%), and Limerick (6%) and the biggest motivators are improved work-life balance (22%), more affordable housing (18%), a good remote working policy (14%), and lower costs of living (12%).
However, barriers do still exist with moving away from friends/family (20%), lower salary (21%), fewer career opportunities (15%), and poorer infrastructure (13%) all listed as concerns by our respondents. To combat these concerns, a strong digital infrastructure will be paramount, especially in more rural locations.
This is promising news for companies located outside of the capital and we are already seeing more companies, including Diligent and Fiserv, choosing regional locations like Galway and Limerick respectively. Longer-term, the dispersion of talent should also reduce the current salary gap between the capital and other cities or towns.
While there is still uncertainty around returning to work and what that will look like, what is clear is the need for a companywide remote working policy in Ireland. 89% of workers expect a future employer to have a remote working policy in place before accepting a role. To help you get started, we created work-from-home policy guidelines you can download by completing the form below.
Prospective employees want to know what policies are in place and this may be a deciding factor in choosing between your company and a competitor's. While the exact working arrangements are hard to define right now, employers need to show they are putting in the groundwork to accommodate for their workers' evolving priorities. Updated or adjusted benefits can be a good place to start.
67% of workers state they expect their employers to update their benefits package if they are to continue working remotely. The new desired benefits include subsidised utility bills (29%), a home workstation stipend (26%), and updated health and wellness benefits (18%).
The companies that act fast and offer remote-friendly packages will win the competition for talent.
Companies need to adapt further and start building out a remote working policy that satisfies both existing workers and attracts prospective candidates.
Remote working is not a one size fits all model, but one that needs to be pliable and adaptable to an individual's personal circumstances. The companies that understand and implement these kinds of policies will continue to win talent in a remote and blended world.
Do you need help with your own remote working policy?
We have created a remote working policy template to offer you guidance on structuring effective work-from-home arrangements for your employees.
Download the sample template by completing the form and start building a remote working program that works.
In total, 1,354 individuals responded to the survey, 1,057 of which are currently working remotely and are used to illustrate the results.
The breakdown of demographics is below:
18-24 (8.04%), 24-30 (28.48%), 30-36 (25.92%), 36-42 (14.47%), 42-48 (12.39%), 48-56 (8.42%), 56-62 (1.80%), 62+ (0.47%).
Male (44.42%), Female (54.81%), Non-binary / third gender (0.29%), Prefer not to say (0.48%).
Accountancy & Finance (5.96%), Banking & Financial Services (8.04%), Construction & Property (1.51%), Engineering, (3.97%), HR (5.77%), Insurance (1.51%) Language Jobs (9.37%), Legal (1.70%), Marketing/Digital Marketing (5.96%), Office Support (10.03%), Retail (1.23%), Sales (1.89%), Science & Pharma (6.62%), Supply Chain (1.04%), Technology (24.31%), Healthcare (3.88%), Customer Service (5.77%), Research & Development (1.42%).
Full-time (75.50%), Part-time (3.12%), Contract (16.37%), Unemployed, looking for work (3.31%), Self-employed (1.70%)
Dublin (56.34%), Cork (5.71%), Limerick (5.23%), Galway (5.81%), Athlone (0.39%), Sligo (0.29%), Other location in Ireland (20.43%), Outside of Ireland (4.74%), Northern Ireland (0.19%), Waterford (0.48%), Belfast (0.39%).
Less than 30,000 (25.54%), 30-45K (38.60%), 45-60K (12.68%), 60-75K (7.47%), 75-90K (4.64%), 90-100K (3.22%), 100-200K (6.91%) 200-300K (0.57%), 300k+ (0.38%)
*Disclaimer: The findings represent a percentage of the working population that has been able to work remotely. We understand that this is not indicative of the total working population in Ireland.
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