Working from home – will it stick after the pandemic?

Smart Money: Employees will have more flexibility, but just how much remains open to question

Recent US research estimates that 20 per cent of full-time hours will be working from home after the pandemic, versus 5 per cent beforehand, an extraordinary level of change. Photograph: iStock

Recent US research estimates that 20 per cent of full-time hours will be working from home after the pandemic, versus 5 per cent beforehand, an extraordinary level of change. Photograph: iStock

Big companies are starting to announce their working policies for autumn as staff return to the office, generally based around a so-called hybrid policy – a mix of working at home and in the office. Two things seem clear from the pandemic. First, working from home can work for many jobs, though there are trade-offs and questions. And second, the debate on what happens next is really only starting. Employees will have more freedom, but just how much remains open to question.

1. The overview

Broadly, working from home during the pandemic has, well, worked. Previous studies had shown tentative evidence that working from home can boost productivity and employee satisfaction. This seems to have been confirmed by the pandemic – the general feedback is positive, both internationally and in Ireland, though with significant concerns too, not least how interaction in teams is managed and how the employee/employer relationship works in many aspects.

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