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Disconnect: Sinead McSweeney said employers need to ‘decouple’ from their staff’s lives. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Disconnect: Sinead McSweeney said employers need to ‘decouple’ from their staff’s lives. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Disconnect: Sinead McSweeney said employers need to ‘decouple’ from their staff’s lives. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Four-day weeks will have to be considered for some employees and office designs will need to be revamped with more thought given to everything from the materials used to the technology incorporated into them, according to the vice president of Mastercard’s Dublin Technology Hub, Sarah Cunningham.

And the managing director of Twitter Ireland, Sinead McSweeney, also told a PwC webinar yesterday that employers need to figure out how to “decouple” from a deeper involvement in employees’ lives that has emerged in recent months.

Mastercard announced in February this year that it would hire 1,500 people over the next five years to establish its European technology hub in Dublin.

“We all require different work environments at different times, maybe for different tasks, to be at our best,” Ms Cunningham told the webinar.

“The future of work will be hybrid,” she added.

“Every aspect of the future office needs to be thoughtfully planned to meet the holistic needs of our employees,” she said. “That’s right from the choice of materials selected in the fit-out, to the smart use of technology to create contactless experiences to create immersive experience and bridge the physical and virtual worlds.”

It’s been predicted that the future of work for traditionally office-based employees has been fundamentally changed because of the pandemic.

Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney, whose company relies heavily on office-based workers in the UK who nip out for sandwiches and salads at lunchtime, thinks there’s significant pent-up demand for a return to business quarters.

“I think some of the forecasts about the scale of permanent change in work habits, I think is overstated,” he told the Irish Independent earlier this week.

“I think there is a massive pent-up demand to actually get back to working physically with their colleagues,” he added. “I think there are some elements of change that will endure. There will be pockets of people who probably will work from home."

Twitter’s Sinead McSweeney said that companies such as hers had a track record of affording significant benefits to employees.

“We probably, as employers, are now really incredibly involved in our employees’ lives, taking responsibility for physical health, mental health to emotional wellbeing,” she said. “I think there’s an extent to which now we need to figure out how to decouple some of that,” she added, noting that employees need to have the ability to “disconnect and reset” from work.

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