Ireland’s workforce has transitioned to hybrid working at a greater rate than any other in the EU, with a quarter of workers now operating from home most of the time, according to a new report.
Commercial property group BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland reports that while back in 2019 just 7 per cent of Ireland’s workforce said they “usually” worked from home, this figure jumped to 25 per cent in 2022, the biggest percentage point increase of any EU country.
The Netherlands has the highest percentage of its workforce engaged in remote working at more than half, but Ireland is leading the charge in terms of how rapidly remote working is taking the place of traditional office-based work.
BNP Paribas director of research John McCartney said Ireland’s adaptability throughout the pandemic has been “remarkable in many ways, not least the ease with which businesses and employees alike adjusted their working models”.
He added that the shift in working patterns has had “knock-on implications” for commercial property.
“Over time remote working has enabled employers to adopt hot-desking and rostering systems which reduce the amount of office space they need to carry per employee,” he said. “In the absence of jobs growth this would subtract from the demand for office accommodation. But Ireland is one of the EU’s most service-driven economies and since the onset of Covid we have created service sector jobs at more than twice the average rate in the EU.”
The impact of remote working on office demand has also been somewhat mitigated by a shift in occupier preferences, according to the report.
“In line with a wider European trend, Irish organisations are typically now seeking less but better quality office space,” said Mr McCartney. “This is driven by sustainability objectives and a need to optimise the employee experience in a tight labour market.”
The report shows that 27.9 per cent of Ireland’s employees work in desk-based sectors compared with an EU average of 24.6 per cent. The number of desk-based jobs in Ireland has risen by 15 per cent since the onset of Covid-19 in the first quarter of 2020 compared with an EU average of 6.9 per cent.