Majority of employees don’t want to return to pre-Covid working patterns

AIB survey finds that 45% of people are cycling or walking more, while a quarter are growing their own fruit and vegetables

The vast majority of people working from home during the pandemic do not want to return to the same working patterns as before, according to a survey by AIB.

The bank’s latest sustainability index also found that since the start of Covid-19 there has been a rise in people doing DIY, reducing food waste and travelling by bike or on foot.

The survey, carried out in June in conjunction with Amárach Research, found that an overwhelming 80 per cent of respondents wanted a change from working in the office five days a week.

When asked what their ideal working arrangement would be when normal life resumes, the highest preference (24 per cent) wanted to work for two to three days a week from home with the rest in the office.


Some 20 per cent of respondents said they would like to work one to two days a week from home and the rest in the office, with another 20 per cent saying they would like to work three to four days a week from home.

Only 15 per cent said they would like to go back to the office the way it was before the pandemic.

Most respondents (88 per cent) believe it would be better for the environment if many people continue to work from home, while 77 per cent thought it would be better for employers if many of their employees continued to work from home.

Some 72 per cent said it was better for family life if people continued to work from home.

Lifestyle changes

The survey found that people on average had adopted more sustainable lifestyle changes since the start of Covid-19.

Some 56 per cent said they do more home cooking, 53 per cent say they do more DIY, and another 53 per cent say they have been attempting to reduce food waste.

Some 45 per cent said they now travel more by bicycle or on foot, while 24 per cent are growing their own fruit, herbs or vegetables more than before.

Commenting on the findings, Yvonne Holmes, AIB's chief sustainability officer, said: "Seventy-six per cent of people AIB surveyed told us that sustainability is important for them in their daily lives."

The AIB index is calculated based on a number of key questions that are then added together to give an overall sustainability score between zero (neither interested in nor practising sustainability) and 100 (interested in and practising sustainability). The AIB Sustainability Index score for June was unchanged from December 2019 at 66.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times