Most workers expect to be back in office by September, survey shows

Despite optimism about return, 83% still want some option of remote working

“The findings of our survey indicate that employee preferences to continue working remotely will facilitate the opening up. Photograph: iStock

“The findings of our survey indicate that employee preferences to continue working remotely will facilitate the opening up. Photograph: iStock

 

The vast majority of people expect to be back in the office by September, a survey from law firm Mason Hayes & Curran found, with just 1 per cent of respondents suggesting that their workplaces won’t reopen until 2021.

While the survey details an optimistic outlook on the reopening of offices, another, separate, survey from researchers at NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute shows that 83 per cent of respondents expressed interest in continuing to work remotely. And 78 per cent said they’d like to work remotely for some or all of the time after the crisis is over.

The Mason Hayes & Curran survey, conducted amongst HR professionals and in-house lawyers, found that 76 per cent of respondents said their organisation has already started planning a return of employees to the physical workplace.

Difficulties

Nevertheless, 51 per cent said that difficulties around social distancing may delay the return of employees to their offices while 24 per cent suggested that employee concerns around virus transmission may be an obstacle.

The length of time employees will be required to continue, or tolerate, remote working remains unclear, but NUI Galway’s survey indicates that at least 12 per cent want to continue working remotely on a daily basis. Some 42 per cent of respondents said they wanted to work from home several times a week while 29 per cent indicated that want to remote work several times a month.

“The findings of our survey indicate that employee preferences to continue working remotely will facilitate the opening up phase and aid with social distancing,” said Prof Alma McCarthy.

“A mind-set change is needed by managers and employers in terms of managing work remotely. The current crisis provides an opportunity for organisations and managers to rethink how we work,” she said.