Financial supports and tax breaks will be examined to help keep workers at home after lockdown, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe says.
The assistance will be on the table once it becomes clear how many people will continue to work from home beyond the crisis.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Donohoe also said the national roll-out of broadband needs “even greater urgency” so people living in rural areas are not at a disadvantage.
The minister said he expects some employers to want less office space as more staff work from home after the crisis.
On the formation of a new government, Mr Donohoe said new laws will need to be passed by the end of June or early July, which the caretaker administration cannot do.
“That road will run out,” he said.
Mr Donohoe has also announced a series of supports for small and medium-sized businesses.
Mr Donohoe says the next government will have to look at financial supports and tax breaks for people working from home, whether it's equipping their workspaces or adding on extensions.
His predecessor as finance minister, Michael Noonan, brought in a home renovation incentive for homeowners to claim a tax credit on the cost of repairs, renovations and improvements to their house.
Mr Donohoe says supports for people working from home will have to be examined after the lockdown is lifted. He anticipates a large number of people will continue to work from home.
"Yes, we're going to have to give consideration to all of this because there is a degree of behaviour change at the moment that will be temporary. And then there will be some behavioural change at the moment, on behalf of citizens, that will become permanent.
"And at the moment, where we all sit, it's very difficult to know, with all the wisdom in the world, what is a temporary shift in behaviour, or what is a permanent shift in behaviour.
"I would think we'll probably have a real sense of what that looks like some time during the summer, when the public health guidance will have changed. And because of the public health guidance, and we all hope being in a better place than it is now, we'll begin to get a feel as to how people's lives are changing and adjusting in relation to a new normal. And it could well be the case that we then have to support people who are getting ready to work more from home," he said.
The Finance Minister added employers will also be looking at the type and size of office space they are using.
"I would anticipate there will be changes in relation to the space in our cities. Like, for example, I would imagine there are companies that will be considering the use of office space. They'll be asking the question, if we're in a position that more work can happen from home, do we need to continue to use the amount of commercial space they have.
"But then as against that, it may be the case that they need the same amount of commercial space, but with fewer people in it to be consistent with social distancing. And these are the kind of big questions that every employer will have to be answering later on in the year," he said.
Mr Donohoe added that the rollout of the national broadband plan is needed with "a degree of even greater urgency" to ensure workers have the chances whether living in a small village or living in a large city.
"Whether you're on Zoom or Google Hangouts or on Skype, we all know that moment when you're on it, and you're in a meeting, and suddenly lose a person at the other end of it, because the broadband falls and the connectivity falls, and what that is like for the meeting, and for the person participating in the meeting, and also what it will mean, then, for example, for people's ability to access internal company software," he said.
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