Just One in Four Employees Want to Work “On-Site” Full-time

Almost Half of Employees Still Primarily Office-based & Over Four in Ten Want Fully Remote or Work-From-Anywhere Model

“The office” remains the primary place of work for just under half of Irish employees, with 45pc exclusively working from their office. However, it is not their preferred choice, with 46pc saying that a flexible work set-up would be preferential and a further 29pc saying they’d like to work from home only.

Just one in four of the 724 employees nationwide asked in the Lockton Employee Benefits Survey, commissioned by Lockton People Solutions, and conducted by iReach, said they would like to work exclusively from the office.

Lockton reports that their research suggests that when it comes to their place of work, the desires of workers do not quite match the reality.

Tom Curran, Head of Wellbeing, Lockton People Solutions commented on the findings,

“For a large chunk of the working population, the traditional office setup still holds strong with almost half of employees reporting an exclusive in-office work schedule, despite the fact that three-quarters (75pc) would not choose this if the decision was up to them”.

Highlights from the Lockton Employee Benefits Survey reveal:

  • More men (31pc) than women (26pc) want to work just from home – and women (28pc versus 23pc) are slightly more inclined to want the office environment full-time.
  • 18 – 24s are most likely to want the office/work-life experience (34pc).
  • Those over 55 are slightly more likely to work from the office only (48pc) – compared with other age groups.
  • Industry type impacts both current workplace preferences and desired work settings.
  • Employees in the private sector, particularly in education and healthcare, along with those in retail, hospitality, and distribution, exhibited a higher likelihood of working within a traditional office environment, with 64pc and 59pc, respectively.
  • In contrast, 31pc of professionals in the business services sector now work fully remotely.
  • When it came to ideal working arrangements, 44pc of those in the business services sector would opt to work from home, while almost four in ten (38pc) of those in the public sector would rather have a hybrid working model.

Mr. Curran added,

“There are some industries that require in-person collaboration on a full-time basis whereas, due to the nature of the tasks they perform, others could work from anywhere, without ever needing to go to the office. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and these findings underscore the importance of organisation-specific strategies for workplace arrangements, taking into account the benefits of remote working and the value-add of in-person collaboration and socialisation. Organisations also need to be aware of the issues in promoting the corporate vision and mission in a fully remote or hybrid context, to ensure that all employees derive meaning and purpose from their roles, and to maximise the sense of belonging.

This creates a communication and employee engagement challenge, with an onus on employers to craft a compelling employee value proposition that is credible and authentic”.

Lockton point to legislation in the pipeline that could change the fortunes of those who’d prefer not to be based in the office. However, the experts report that the Government has not yet acted on its promise to enforce the Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021. The Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023[1] which was signed into law on April 4th, 2023, has also not yet taken effect. Once commenced, the Act would give all employees the legal right to request remote working once certain conditions are met.

Mr. Curran continued,

“The results clearly show that employees are seeking a balance between office working and the flexibility of remote work. Working remotely – be it from home, a city workspace, or a remote office hub in rural Ireland - is now a well embedded feature of workplace and workforce dynamics. This is a key benefit that employers can leverage as part of their strategy to attract, retain, and engage with their talent.

Workers have experienced the many benefits of having flexibility in where they work, forgoing their commute and instead spending more time with family, loved ones, and to pursue other interests. This opportunity for greater work-life balance is an important consideration for employees in terms of their physical and mental health and has been shown to increase engagement and productivity in an organisation”.

Mr Curran concluded,

“We eagerly await the implementation of the Right to Request Remote Work Bill and the Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act as soon as possible to give employees their legal right to request homeworking. Employees need to have worked at least six months of continuous service with their employer and must submit the request at least eight weeks before the date they intend to start the new work arrangement. It should also be noted that employers have the right to end the remote working set up if they find that it is having substantial negative effects on their business, and would be required to provide reasonable grounds for refusing to facilitate an employee’s request in the first place."

Article Published: 31/10/2023