Sixty two percent of employers are planning to stagger return to work based on employees’ own health risks related to COVID-19, whilst 49% will be staggering employees return depending on how critical their role is to the business.
This is according to a recent survey from global recruiter Robert Walters, with the global findings published in a whitepaper: Returning to the New World of Work. The survey was conducted on 2,200 global companies.
The next most popular strategy is the creation of smaller workgroups (46%), followed by a voluntary return scheme (41%), changing work hours (35%), and splitting shifts (35%).
A third (32%) of Irish businesses have stated that they will base their return-to-work strategy on local infection rates, while 29% of companies have admitted to not yet considering what their return to work strategy may be.
Ninety three percent of Irish employees would like more opportunities to work from home post-return, with 11% stating that they would like to work from home permanently. Whilst 79% of firms have stated that the experience of COVID-19 will encourage business heads to have employees to work from home more often, they also cite concerns over employee productivity (64%), senior leadership preferring traditional ways of working (57%), and the nature of the business e.g. face-to-face sales (36%), as the key barriers to achieving this.
Some of the most popular instant measures Irish companies took in response to the virus included implementing headcount freezes (45%), utilising government unemployment schemes (30%) and voluntary annual leave (23%). It is thought that use of government schemes by employers has grown significantly in two months.
Now as workplaces are able to re-open it seems that cost saving remains at the core of business strategy – with a reduction in office space (50%), and a reduction in travel budgets by switching to virtual meetings (47%) being the key tactics considered by companies.
Commenting on the research, Director at Robert Walters Ireland, Suzanne Feeney said, "It can be daunting for companies who have been going through a difficult period to consider spending money on their physical workspace, technical infrastructure or general operations. However, those who have been through previous periods of economic turbulence will know that investment at the early stages is crucial to remaining competitive and retaining good staff."
She added, "We’d advise all employers to undergo a period of consultation with their staff to ascertain what they believe the future of their workplace and industry is going to be."