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Working Remotely

A CSO Frontier Series Output- What is this?

This release has been compiled during the COVID-19 crisis. The results contained in this release reflect some of the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 situation. For further information see Background Notes

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Just under one in four (23%) respondents in employment worked remotely at some point before the COVID-19 pandemic but eight in 10 (80%) have worked remotely at some point since. In November 2021, just under two in three (65%) of those in employment were working remotely all or some of the time. See Table 2.1.

Respondents to the ‘Our Lives Online’ CSO Pulse Survey who currently work remotely (November 2021) were asked a series of questions about their experiences and perceptions of working this way. 

Show Table: 2.1 Remote work arrangements (current and past) by various characteristics, November 2021

Future remote work intentions

Of those in employment who can remote work, 88% would like to continue to do so when all pandemic restrictions are removed. Of these, nearly three in 10 (28%) said they would like to do so all the time. Six in 10 (60%) said they would like to work remotely some of the time. The remainder (12%) said they would not like to work remotely in the future. See Table 2.2.

Almost three in 10 (29%) of those in employment who had worked remotely at some point since the start of the pandemic would like to work remotely all of the time when pandemic restrictions are removed whereas just over one in 10 (11%) said they would not like to remote work at all in the future. See Table 2.2 and Figure 2.1.

Primary Economic StatusYesNo
Like to work remotely all of the time 2915
Like to work remotely some of the time6059
Not like to work remotely1126

Those aged 35 - 44 years were the age group most likely to want to work remotely when pandemic restrictions end, with nine in 10 (90%) saying they would like to work away from their regular workplace in the future. They too would most like to work remotely all of the time (32%). Those in employment aged 55 years and older were least likely to want to remote work when all pandemic restrictions are lifted while 16% of them said they would not like to work remotely in the future. See Table 2.2.

Of those in employment in the Mid-East Region (Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow) who could work remotely, 93% said they would like to do so in the future after all pandemic restrictions are removed. This figure was lowest at 83% in the South-East Region (Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford). The Midland Region (Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath) had the highest proportion (37%) of those who wanted to work remotely all of the time when pandemic restrictions are lifted. See Table 2.2 and Figure 2.2.

More than eight in 10 (85%) of those in employment whose job could be done remotely but who did not work remotely prior to the pandemic said they would like to do so when pandemic restrictions are no longer in place. This proportion increased to 96% for employees who did work remotely some of the time and to 97% for those who worked remotely all the time before the pandemic. See Table 2.2.

More than nine in 10 (96%) workers who mainly used public transport to get to work prior to the pandemic and who could work remotely would like to do so when pandemic restrictions are no longer in place. This proportion fell to 82% for people who mainly walked to work prior to the pandemic. See Table 2.2 and Figure 2.3.

Main mode of transport (prior to pandemic)None of the timeSome of the timeAll of the time
Car166223
Bicycle106624
Walk175923
Public transport46036
Other (incl. Motorcycle)105040

Just under one in 10 (9%) who rated their home broadband as Excellent would not like to work remotely in the future. This figure rose to 15% for those who rated their home broadband as PoorSee Table 2.2.

Almost all (99%) respondents who felt that their opportunities for promotion would be affected in a positive way would like to work remotely in the future whereas this figure fell to 88% for those who felt that promotion would be negatively affected. See Table 2.2.

Similarly, 97% of workers whose job could be done remotely and whose travel time to work before the pandemic was over one hour would like to work remotely when pandemic restrictions are removed. See Table 2.2.

Show Table: 2.2 Future remote work intentions by various characteristics, November 2021

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The Pulse Survey 'Our Lives Online' asked a series of questions of those respondents who were in employment during the pandemic but did not work remotely.

Would you work remotely if it was offered to you in your current employment?

Overall, for those in employment who have not worked remotely at any point since the pandemic began but when asked if some (or all) of their job could be done away from their workplace, and the opportunity to do so was offered, almost eight in 10 (79%) responded positively (choosing definitely, probably or possibly) that they would work remotely.  See Table 2.3.

As age increased for those who had not worked remotely at any point since the pandemic began, it was less likely that they would take up the opportunity to do so if it were offered in their current employment. See Table 2.3 and Figure 2.4.

Age grouppercent
18 to 3483
35 to 4479
45 to 5478
55 and above74

Those in employment in the Border Region (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo) who have not worked remotely at any point since the pandemic began were most favourably disposed to working remotely with only 11% choosing probably not or definitely not if offered the opportunity of working remotely in their current job. This was in contrast to those in employment in the South-East Region (Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford) where the proportion of those who said they would probably not or definitely not work that way was 47%. The Mid-East Region (Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow) had the highest proportion, at 69%, of those who would definitely work remotely if it were offered in their current employment. See Table 2.3.

Over six in 10 (62%) of those who used public transport to commute to work before the pandemic said they would definitely work remotely given the opportunity to do so by their current employer. Whereas over seven in ten (72%) who travelled for over one hour to get to work before the COVID-19 pandemic would definitely take the opportunity to remote work were it available to them. See Table 2.3.

Show Table: 2.3 Would you like to work remotely if it was offered to you in your current employment? By various characteristics, November 2021

Would remote working arrangements attract you to a new job? 

Three in 10 (30%) of those in employment whose job could not be done remotely with their current employer would be definitely (18%) or probably (12%) attracted to a new job that could. See Table 2.4.

As age increases it is more likely that employees will not change from their current jobs, where remote work is not an option, in search of employment that does. See Table 2.4.

Almost one in four (24%) of those in employment whose job could not be done remotely with their current employer and who rated their home broadband as Excellent would definitely be attracted to a job elsewhere that did offer remote-work opportunities. For those who rated their home broadband as Poor, however, this figure dropped to 9%. See Table 2.4 and Figure 2.5.

X-axis labelDefinitelyProbablyPossiblyProbably notDefinitely not
Excellent249192623
Very good1718232814
Good1910202527
Fair189272224
Poor95184325

The Border Region (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo) has the highest proportion (23%) of those in employment who would definitely be attracted to a new job to avail of remote work with the South-East (Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford) having the lowest (13%). See Table 2.4.

Show Table: 2.4 Would remote work arrangements attract you to a new job? By various characteristics, November 2021

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Would you consider employment if you could work remotely?

Overall, almost six in 10 (58%) of those not in employment would consider taking a job if it could be done remotely. See Table 2.5.

The highest proportion of people who would consider employment if it could be done remotely are in the 35 - 44 years age group, with the lowest being amongst those aged 55 years and older. See Table 2.5.

Three in four (75%) respondents who were engaged on home duties and almost seven in 10 (69%) of those unable to work due to longstanding health problems would consider employment if it could be done remotely. See Table 2.5 and Figure 2.6.

Primary Economic StatusYesNo
Unemployed or In receipt PUP928
Engaged on home duties7525
Retired2971
Student7921
Unable to work due to longstanding health problems6931
Other7525

Regionally, the Mid-East (Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow) had the highest potential uptake with almost two-in-three (66%) saying they would consider employment if it could be done remotely, while in the Border Region (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo) this figure fell to just under half (49%). See Table 2.5.

Those with a Level 8 Honours bachelor's degree or higher were more likely to consider employment if it could be done remotely. See Table 2.5.

Almost eight in 10 (77%) of those who lived in rented accommodation would consider taking a job if it could be done away from an office. This compares to just over half (54%) of those who live in owner-occupied accommodation. See Table 2.5.

The more children living with a person the more likely they are to consider employment if they could work remotely with the highest proportion being those with three children (82%). See Table 2.5.

Show Table: 2.5 Would you consider employment if you could work remotely? By various characteristics, November 2021

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