Searches for jobs that allow employees to work from home in Ireland were six times higher in December 2021 than before the Covid-19 pandemic began.
The study, based on job postings in 20 OECD countries show that this trend looks set to continue as the country begins to reopen after nearly two years of restrictions.
According to the Job Search Survey, employers appear to be trying to cater to the working from home trend with posts for remote working making up 12.5% of job adverts on Indeed.com in Ireland, four times higher than pre-pandemic.
Despite the recent easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the country, particularly with workers allowed to return to the office from Monday of this week, there has not been a reduction in the number of job ads for remote working, with the survey suggesting this will be a long term trend in Ireland.
This is supported by recent CSO data which shows that 88% of those who are able to work remotely would like to continue doing so, with 28% wanting to do so full-time and 60% in favour of a hybrid arrangement.
Remote working job opportunities have grown particularly in areas such as IT and software development, with flexible jobs in Dublin, which has a high density of large technology companies, seeing a nearly five-times increase in postings compared to just two-times increase for the rest of the country.
Ireland ranked the second-highest, amongst OECD countries, in terms of its growth in remote postings.
The study, which comes as part of Indeed’s monthly Job Search Survey for Ireland, found mixed perspectives on how working life change in 2021 whilst people were working from home.
- More than 25% of people say they have been less productive whilst working remotely, while 23.2% say they have been more productive. 51.4% reported no change.
- In terms of work-life balance, 26.4% say they are better off working from home, compared to 24.8% who say it is worse. 48.8% reported no change.
- Almost 20% of respondents say their relationships with their co-workers have improved while working remotely, with just over 17% saying they have worsened. 63.3% reported no change.
Indeed says the study argues in favour of public policy evolving to make the most of the positive effects of remote working.
"This may include ensuring that workers have a suitable working environment (e.g., computer equipment, office and childcare facilities), facilitating the spread of managerial best practices (e.g., moving from a culture of presenteeism to a results-based assessment of productivity), or ensuring that everyone has access to a fast, reliable and secure Internet connection (e.g., in rural areas)."
Jack Kennedy, Economist at Indeed said the practice of remote working is likely to persist even after the threat of Covid-19 recedes, however it will raise important long terms questions.
"Real thought needs to be given to welcoming new employees and spreading corporate culture in a hybrid environment where some staff are in the office and some at home," Mr Kennedy said.
"Secondly, management and leadership style will need to evolve to best transmit knowledge and motivate teams.
"Finally we must accept that whilst increasing employee flexibility was a trend pre-Covid, the process has been massively accelerated, and on this steep learning curve it is likely that there will be teething problems along the way with company policies needing to adapt and evolve.”
The job search survey also showed a slight increase in December of the number of Irish people actively searching for a new job, rising to 20%, compared to just 17.9% in November.