The majority of people (67pc) wish to avail of a ‘hybrid’ of home and office work within the next 12 months.
A survey of 1,200 staff from a cross-section of industries stated the ‘blended’ work option was preferential, while only 9pc were in favour of a full-time return to the office within six to 12 months.
However, the 2021 Lincoln Recruitment salary survey found that 15pc of employees favoured a full-time return to the office within a year.
Some 53pc said they would prefer to work remotely for the next three to six months but this figure dropped to just 8pc at the one-year mark.
This is despite 49pc of respondents indicating they work more efficiently from home.
Shay Dalton, managing director of Lincoln Recruitment Specialists, said: “It’s important employees feel a sense of connection to the people they work with. That’s been brought to the fore during this pandemic.
“Isolation has an effect on people’s mental and physical health. Wellness will feature heavily in workplaces in the next 12 to 24 months and employers will have to design wellbeing at work programmes.
“That will prove a huge benefit to staff.”
Mr Dalton said companies now “trust” their staff to work from home and the pandemic had sped up a process of mass remote working.
However, he felt many workers placed being part of an organisation ahead of salary.
“Employers recognise performance hasn’t gone down due to working from home,” he said.
“That would have been a concern prior to Covid-19. In many circumstances performance has actually gone up. And people’s individual contributions are being recognised.”
Last week Tánaiste Leo Varadkar announced people will in future be legally entitled to work from home.
Workers will also have legislation to support them to switch off from work calls and emails when they’re off the clock.
The Lincoln survey has also found that, despite the economic turmoil the country is witnessing, 2021 will see opportunities for workers.
While last year 33pc of businesses delayed hiring new people due to economic uncertainty, this year will see a very different approach.
Some 47pc of businesses said they intend to recruit permanent staff again, 26pc are expecting salary increases of up to 2.5pc, and 50pc are set to maintain current employee salaries.
Half of employers surveyed believe activity levels will increase in the next 12 months, while 29pc feel positive about economic recovery in the next year.
“We came into 2020 in pretty good shape economically,” Mr Dalton said. “2019 was a very busy year, probably the busiest year of that decade.
“And people just got on with it during the pandemic. Workers became accustomed to lockdowns and virtual working.
“Companies are now accustomed to hiring virtually and we’re learning in a virtual way. We’re seeing a lot of confidence coming back due to the vaccines.”
Source: Irish News