Irish Times readers on remote working: ‘I can’t believe we ever lived the way we did’

We asked readers if working at home improved their work-life balance. Here’s what they said

Most people who work from home are happier. At least that is what the data tells us. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) recently reported that those who worked mostly from home were more satisfied with their jobs and with life in general. How has it gone for you? We asked; this is what you said.

I can't believe we ever lived the way we did before. I'll never give up this work-life balance. I can't even begin to explain how much better my life is when I'm able to work from home two or three days a week. The removal of my commute has given me back two precious hours in my day. I'm able to wake up and fall asleep more easily knowing I don't have far to go to get to my desk. I love being in my own space and not having to make small talk all day long with other people. Going into the office takes up my entire day, every single time.
Lauren Moore, Co Dublin

I've been remote working for about six years. It allowed me to move to Bray, Co Wicklow from where I can still take the Dart into the office if required. Relocating has been amazing: the easy access to the sea, the views of trees and mountains on a simple walk to the supermarket is just good for the soul. I work with people all over the globe so there is no requirement for me to attend in-person meetings. And the quiet at home makes it much easier to concentrate. I have random chats with colleagues on the phone. I would struggle with a requirement to work full time in an office again.
Tiffiny Quinn, Co Wicklow

It has definitely improved my work-life balance. We are back in the office two days a week now and I see my one-year-old for about an hour on those days. By the time I pick him up on office days, I need to put him to bed soon after. I find I work much better at home as well. Today in the office I could not concentrate with all the conversations going on around me.
Colm Quinn

We have a seven-year-old daughter who is autistic and non-verbal. Being at home more means it's not just one of us left to look after her or join in when the situation requires it. Should I be needed, I'm only upstairs. In my previous job I worked a lot of weekends as well as evenings so I was away a lot. While the pandemic has affected us negatively in many ways, particularly with certain regression in our daughter's development, we can at least take one positive from it all, and that is the ability to avoid being away as much as before.
Justin Deegan

At home it's all too easy to be at the PC for longer than you would be if you were in the office. Then there's the social aspect of the office and even just having a canteen feeding you decent food for a reasonable price, meaning you don't have to sort that out as well. But it is nice not to have to go through the rigmarole of going to work every day. I do 50/50 home/office which, if I'm disciplined, works well enough for me.
Linda Stewart, Zurich, Switzerland

I've been working mostly from home since 2017. Pre-Covid, it was very rare to be granted the opportunity. It has made such a huge difference to my work-life balance; I have saved up to four hours every day from the commute. My productivity has increased hugely without the typical office distractions. I'm really so much happier in my job and feel far more willing to take on difficult and boring tasks. I do sometimes miss getting to interact in person with my colleagues but it's a very small price to pay for the extra time I have at home with my young family.
Una Gibson, Co Louth

I will never go back to a job that requires me to be in the office full time. I work three days in the office and two at home. I'm lucky I was able to create a comfortable separate office space so I can physically close the door on work once my day is finished. I found the commute into work is much more manageable as I'm only doing it a few days a week. I have noticed a dramatic reduction in my stress levels as I don't feel like I'm constantly rushing around. I'm also eating a lot healthier as I have time to cook and I take more exercise.
Susan Murphy, Co Dublin

My employer has just published its working-from-home policy: one day per week which can be cancelled at short notice and cannot be recouped. In exchange we must surrender all time in lieu. It's a deliberate attempt to make it so unattractive that no one takes it up, but they can tick the government box by saying they offer it. Working from home had a dramatic improvement on my health. I spent my lunch breaks doing chores which freed us up at weekends to enjoy outdoor activities. There was a reduction in petrol costs. I became more familiar with my neighbourhood, and my diet improved. The quality of my work was better as I avoided distractions, but that's not to say I don't enjoy seeing them in person when I do go in. Our managers are pleading with us to recommend friends for jobs with our organisation, but why would we?
Elisabeth Burden, Co Dublin, Ireland

Working from home has been a great experience; I have seen my kids and wife more, and it has brought us closer together. The 80-minute daily commute is now available for personal or family activities like running, walking to school, making dinner with the kids. It has helped with the unexpected events of daily life. Things are easier to organise. There are a few challenges though. Work pressure means it's easy to turn the extra time you have into work time. And there is no more "break time" between work and family. Just a door. So out of meetings, right into the kitchen.
Frederic Meyer, Co Dublin

Remote working policy has made life much easier. My wife was able to handle pregnancy with no support from family members during the pandemic because I was at home. Instead of wasting time, money and energy on travel, we were able to give time for our kids. Once in a while I go into the office to socialise. I would never go back to full-time work there.
Prince Paulson, Co Westmeath

I like a mix. I can work from home as much as desired or go into the office, which I do once a week to be sociable, although I'm less productive in there. The difference it's made to my work-life balance is immeasurable. As a mum of two small kids, we now get up at between 7am and 8am as opposed to 6am and 7am. We have a slow relaxed breakfast, less rushing. I put the dinner on during the day so it's ready when the kids get in the door and then we even have time to go out and play afterwards. However, I'm working more in the evenings because the desk is in the living room and if you think of something you might just log on and do it.
Martina Farragher O'Leary

Myself, my husband and four children moved to Co Mayo from Co Wicklow in 2016 due to the high property prices in the east. I had a permanent role in UCD and I made the difficult decision to hand in my notice. In 2020 I decided I wanted to return to work and I eventually secured a temporary post in NUI Galway. Due to Covid I worked from home the entire time. I have since been made permanent and work four days at home and one in the office. The opportunity to work from home gave me the chance to return to work without having to worry about whether it was financially worth it and all the while providing a better work-life balance. Win, win.
Alanna McLoughlin, Co Mayo

My work-life balance has both improved and deteriorated as a result of working from home. Where possible, I can sleep in later, exercise at lunch and nip out for necessities during the day. However, some senior colleagues have taken flexible working to the extreme, where you are constantly expected to be online or available to open your laptop. This leads to an "always-on" mentality creeping into home and personal life. Hybrid working has huge potential but if implemented without the required barriers it could have a devastating impact on an individual's mental health, relationship with family and friends, and desire to seek a new job.
Jerry, Co Dublin

The nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday work model is from a different era, arranged around men who had a wife or maid at home running errands, cleaning and picking up children from school. In the modern world such a rigid, outdated model doesn't work for anyone who has to care for elderly parents, or has children in school. As a mother it significantly reduces stress related to trying to juggle childcare and appointments. Overall, it's made the working world an easier, more efficient and flexible place.
Sacha Ryan, Co Dublin

Because of pandemic restrictions, I didn't have much of a life, so to speak, and the pressure of housesharing with others working remotely was difficult (putting it politely). But since the restrictions have eased, and I have a normal routine again, working remotely has given me time. My office is in the midlands and it's a relief to not have to drive 80 minutes each way every day. In the mornings I have time to get up and go to the gym, have a decent breakfast, not waste time on what I have to wear, or spend money on bus fare or petrol. I used to spend hours getting ready for work, going to work, coming back from work, and it would take up the majority of my day. Now I have all that time back – I just turn off the computer and do as I please.
Aoife Kirk, Co Dublin