Remote Working Report – The Employers’ Perspective
There has been widespread coverage of late on the impact of working from home on employees in Ireland. But what about the business owner? In our recent Working from Home survey, we take a look at the employer’s perspective in Ireland. The results shine a light on the stark reality of business closures, job losses and reduced hours for many workers in Ireland, with almost 80% of business owners stating they have had to reduce hours for staff, with two thirds having to implement pay cuts.
58% of employers who responded to the survey are now working from home as a direct result of the pandemic. Of the 42% who are not working from home, a staggering 43% have had to close their doors temporarily, with 19% saying they have had to close their doors permanently.
However, for the business owners who continue to operate their business from home, 70% say that they enjoy the new set up and over 50% of employers state they would consider allowing employees to work from home, at least 1-2 days per week once normality resumes.
This is a sentiment echoed by two thirds of employees in Ireland who say they are enjoying their new workspace with 60% of respondents saying they would like the option to continue working from home, according to the Matrix Recruitment findings.
Motivating staff is a challenge
The importance of staying connected also rings true in the findings with 75% of business owners stating they feel adequately connected to staff. However, a noteworthy 78% of employers admit to finding it challenging to motivate staff at this time, perhaps a reflection of the fact that 40% of employees admit to problems with concentration on some days.
That being said, business owners have a more positive view of their staff’s productivity levels; 60% believe staff are actually more productive in their new work environment that has been created as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, compared to just 25% of employees believing they are more productive.
Kieran McKeown, MD, Matrix Recruitment commented, “These are very challenging times for both business owners and employees, and the findings of this survey really highlight some of the many challenges being faced in all sectors across the country. Many businesses have had to put the brakes on operations temporarily while others have had to shut their doors permanently. 30% of employees have reported having their hours reduced as a result of the pandemic, which is also significant, particularly given the uncertainty over when things might return to normal.
“But for those who can work from home, there have been some interesting and positive findings. The majority of business owners say that staff working from home are proving to be more productive, even if staff don’t perceive this to be the case. It’s also interesting that most employers are now open to staff working at least one day each week from home, once the pandemic ends, which is indicative of a broader shift in employer perceptions around remote working. As a recruitment company, we know that the opportunity to work remotely is one of the most sought-after benefits by jobseekers. Perhaps, if anything, this pandemic has shown to business owners that employees can still get the work done, even more efficiently in some cases, in a home setting with the balance it brings.
“However, it is important to point out that most respondents, both employers and employees, would prefer to spend the majority of their working week in a workplace environment. It’s plain to see we miss our colleagues and that the workplace better lends itself to social interaction and routine.”
Other findings of note in the Working from Home Report – The Employers’ Perspective:
- The best thing about working from home is not having to commute, according to 40% of survey respondents. 20% say that working from home allows them to have more control over their working day and 15% responded that the best thing was being able to spend more time with family
- When it comes to what we miss the most about the workplace, 60% of employees who are working from home miss the interaction with colleagues, while over a third of respondents say that they miss having proper structure on their working day
- Video calls are the most popular means of staying in touch (55%) among employees, followed by email (52%)
- Employers prefer the traditional method of picking up the phone to stay in touch (almost 40%) and the majority (40%) of employers say they are in touch 3-4 times per week with their staff
- The kitchen and the bedroom prove to be most popular places of work for business owners (40% each), while the living room is most popular with employees (30%,) followed by the kitchen (25%)
- Interestingly, over three quarters (77%) of business owners are having to share their office space with family or housemates, while the majority of employees are not sharing with others, (52% not sharing, 48% sharing).
About this survey:
The Matrix Recruitment Working from Home Survey was conducted online in April 2020 among 1,000 employers and employees in Ireland over the age of 18. Matrix Recruitment is one of Ireland’s leading recruitment firms. Established in 1998 and with offices in Dublin, Waterford, Carlow and Athlone Matrix specialises in a number of job categories including accountancy, financial services, engineering manufacturing, quality & laboratory, supply chain, HR, office support, IT and sales & marketing.
www.matrixrecruitment.ie. @Matrixrecruit #MatrixRemoteWorkingReport
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