Big disconnect between employers and staff on hybrid work, report finds

Some 92% of workers in Ireland expressed a strong preference for continuing in a hybrid or remote work model

A huge majority of employees in Ireland have a strong preference for working in a hybrid or remote model, but close to half of companies are urging staff to increase their in-office presence, according to a new report.

The findings are contained in the Insights from the Global Workplace Guide, published by global recruitment firm Morgan McKinley.

The study gathered insights about various hiring and workplace trends by surveying more than 3,400 professionals and 650 employers and hiring managers globally, with 1,100 professionals in Ireland.

Four years on from start of the pandemic, the Irish workforce is still debating the merits of hybrid work, with the evidence indicating a disconnect between employer and employee expectations, the report said.


Some 92 per cent of respondents in Ireland expressed a strong preference for continuing in a hybrid or remote work model. Despite employee preferences, 56 per cent of companies globally with 42 per cent in Ireland are urging staff to increase their in-office presence.

Professionals working in hybrid models expressed the highest contentment with their work patterns, with 59 per cent willing to forgo pay raises for desired flexibility.

Flexible working arrangements have emerged as a crucial factor in talent attraction and retention, after 80 per cent of hiring managers highlighted its importance.

The survey found that one to two days in the office is the favoured weekly working pattern for 47 per cent of professionals, with a further 25 per cent selecting three to four days in Ireland. Only 8 per cent were happy to be in the office for the full five working days.

The research also showed 56 per cent of respondents who work on-site five days a week are the ones most actively looking for a new job in the next six months compared with hybrid employees (41 per cent) and fully remote employees (44 per cent).

There were also regional differences in terms of companies mandating for employees to return to the office.

Hong Kong (91 per cent), Australia (65 per cent), Japan (62 per cent), Singapore (61 per cent) and China (59 per cent) exhibited higher rates of return-to-office mandates compared with 40 per cent in the UK, 40 per cent in Canada and 42 per cent in Ireland.

Morgan McKinley managing director Stephen O’Brien said: “Simply mandating a five-day-a-week office presence would likely encounter resistance and productivity dips. Our research underscores the resounding preference for flexibility, with 86 per cent advocating for continued adoption of hybrid arrangements.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter