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Back to work with you! July 30, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Been wondering when this chorus would start up again.

The success of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Ireland means that a gradual return to the workplace could commence in September, the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said.

Mr Ryan said the return to the workplace will be on a phased basis and “part of a gradual safe transition”.

“The vaccination targets that we’ve been meeting are phenomenal, we have incredible stories as a country in light of how we have actually pulled ahead.

And apparently:

The Minister said he expected people to return to the workplace in September and that it was an important part of mental health to get back to the office.

“What’s next has to be the return to work and to college, we need real life return. We also need the return of creative industries, they’ve been the worst hit, music, arts, entertainment. Not immediately, but we will start planning now, in the coming weeks to see how those other industries that they too can start planning a return,” he added.

In fairness I know many people keen to get back to their offices and places of work after a year and a half of WFH. And at least Ryan had the great good sense not to adopt the punitive tone of another politician who tried to run with this last year, but that said I’m a bit surprised there wasn’t mention about supporting a more hybrid way of working for surely it would be no bad thing, environmentally and in many other respects – not least working conditions, that where possible and where wanted workers can determine blended and other work patterns. For many years there’s been talk about work/life balances and so on. Here’s an opportunity to put that into practice. 

I’m lucky that my job has survived, though a colleague in the same role lost theirs, and I’ve found working from home to actually be pretty productive and for one reason and another the office interactions – well, while I miss some of them, overall I’m good. But I’d jump at the opportunity to work from home one or two days a week. I’m fortunate that the sort of work I do is precisely structured that outputs are obvious and whether I’m in front of a computer at home or work the location is to all intents irrelevant. Again that’s not always an option. 

As it happens the government is supporting some changes:

Remote work has meant tech workers in regions such as Donegal have been able to apply for higher paying jobs with Twitter, Google and Microsoft – without having to relocate.

Meanwhile, they are being joined in rural Ireland by some formerly Dublin-based tech employees who are escaping the Irish capital’s rising property prices.

It is a pattern the Government is keen to accelerate: earlier this year it unveiled a plan to encourage a shift of people from major cities to the rest of the State, which includes creating a network of more than 400 remote working hubs and tax breaks for individuals and companies that support homeworking.


Meanwhile, the biggest trend – and one that is going to grow as lockdowns ease – is “working near home”, where hyper-local workspaces serve residents who want to get out of the house but don’t want to commute into the centre of town.

Business First, a workspace provider, has nine office sites in towns around Manchester. Sarah Fretwell, its director, says during the pandemic “offices have been rented to meet this demand in the local areas where the employees are living”, with the group’s occupancy nearing 90 per cent.


Debra Moritz, head of strategic consulting for Chicago-based Cushman & Wakefield, estimates that the number of employees working entirely off-site will double from 5 per cent, while another 10 or 20 per cent will work in the office five days a week. The rest will split their time between home and office.

In Europe, good transport infrastructure and the appetite for working from home have led to an uptick in people heading out of central Paris and Berlin for the long term. Some towns ramped up their marketing to attract those looking to make a permanent move.

So is that the shape of things to come? 


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