Majority of staff back in workplace in Q2 2022 say 37% of business leaders

The largest cohort (37%) of business leaders in a new Institute of Directors (IoD) in Ireland survey don’t foresee the majority of staff being in the office/workplace until Q2 2022.

The new survey also shows that 30% of bosses think most staff will be back in the workplace in the first quarter of this year.

Just 8% believe it will be in January, while only 6% believe it will be in February, the IoD’s Sentiment Monitor survey adds.

Return to Office/Workplace: When asked, ‘In respect of your primary organisation, and in view of the deteriorating public health situation and possible further restrictions, when do you foresee the majority of staff being in the office/workplace by?’ the business leaders selected as follows:

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•    January 2022: 8%
•    February 2022: 6%
•    March 2022: 16%
•    April – June (Q2) 2022: 37%
•    July -September (Q3) 2022: 10%
•    October – December (Q4) 2022: 3%
•    Don’t know: 12%
•    Not applicable: all or most staff will work remotely in future: 7%

The new research also reveals that business leaders see the biggest risk facing their organisations as a return of tight public health restrictions caused by Covid-19 and its variants.

Business leaders also viewed global supply chain issues and the rising costs of raw materials as risks for the year.

But there is a note of optimism, with 31% of business leaders now more optimistic about the economy than the previous quarter, with 28% more pessimistic and 41% signifying “no change” from the previous three months..

Commenting on the IoD’s Q4 Director Sentiment Monitor findings, Maura Quinn, Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors in Ireland, said:

“With many staff returning to the workplace for at least some of the time during autumn 2021, the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has seen a significant return to remote working. While the rollout of the booster vaccine programme has been swift and widespread, it looks like the public health restrictions already in place will remain so for the foreseeable future. Our research finds that 37% of business leaders see the second quarter of the year as the period when a majority of staff will likely be in the office/workplace. Furthermore, it should be of note that business leaders now see the biggest business risk as ‘a return of tight public health restrictions caused by COVID-19 and its variants’.”