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More than a third of business leaders don’t see majority of staff back in the workplace before April


Institute of Directors survey also saw a greater move towards working from home.

Institute of Directors survey also saw a greater move towards working from home.

Institute of Directors survey also saw a greater move towards working from home.


A SURVEY has found that more than a third of Irish business leaders do not see the majority of their staff returning to offices and workplaces until the second quarter of this year.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) survey found that while 30% of those questioned believe staff will return to work before March of this year, 37% said they do not think that will happen until after April.

A further 10% did not believe there would be a return to the workplace before Q3 of this year, with 3% saying it would not occur until the final three-months of 2022.

The survey underlined the trend towards home working, with 7% of those surveyed saying the survey was not applicable to their organisations as all of most of their staff will be working from home in the future.

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The advance findings from the IoD’s latest ‘Director Sentiment Monitor’ report for the final quarter of 2021 has revealed that almost a quarter (24%) of business leaders see the biggest risk facing their organisations being a return of tight Covid-19 related public health restrictions.

A further 18% saw the recruitment and retention of staff as posing a risk to their operations while 7% global supply issues and the rising costs of raw materials was causing them concern.

Commenting on the survey findings, IoD chief executive Maura Quinn said that while there was a gradual return to the workplace last autumn, the emergence of the Omicron variance has seen a “significant” return to remote working.

“While the roll-out of the booster vaccine programme has been swift and widespread, it looks like the public health restrictions already in place will remain so for the foreseeable future,” said Ms Quinn.

“Our research finds that 37% of business leaders see the second quarter of the year as the period when a majority of staff will likely be in the office/workplace. Furthermore, it should be of note that business leaders now see the biggest business risk as ‘a return of tight public health restrictions caused by COVID-19 and its variants’.”

However, there were shoots of optimism to emerge from the survey, with 31% of those questioned saying they were ‘more optimistic; about the future prospects of the Irish economy than in the previous quarter.

Conversely, 28% were more pessimistic, while 41% indicated their positions had not change from the previous quarter.