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Keys to Success for Irish Businesses Moving From Office to Home
It’s no secret that COVID-19 and subsequent government lockdowns has changed the way we live and work. The pandemic that stopped the world has given way to a much more remote workforce in Ireland and around the world.
At the start of this year, the Government of Ireland announced new legislation to allow employers to seek permission for a permanent work from home setup. While the future of the pandemic is unknown, it’s safe to say that the ability to work from a home office in addition to the traditional office setup is likely here to stay, at least to some degree depending on the industry and personal preference.
From Office to Home
The shift from working at the office to working from home happened quickly. COVID-19 was confirmed on Irish shores in late February 2020, and in a matter of weeks the country was shut down. On March 12, 2020, the Republic of Ireland announced the closure of schools, childcare, colleges and cultural centres. By March 27, the first stay-at-home order strictly limited movement and forced the closure of non-essential businesses. This sent the majority of Ireland’s six million people home for weeks on end, with the lockdown stretching through May.
During this time, Ireland workers got used to remote work, and even as restrictions began to ease in the summer, many stayed in their remote setup. That turned out to be a smart move, as the pandemic was far from over and the autumn and winter brought rising case rates and further lockdowns. Small businesses, large corporations, and everything in between have been relying on a remote workforce throughout the ups and downs of the pandemic.
Work From Home Priorities
Ireland has stood out for its working from home success over the past year. A survey of EU nations found that Ireland came second behind Belgium in home-based work with 47 percent of people teleworking from home. The study did indicate challenges for those working from home, such as the rapid transition in spring 2020 that meant many were without proper office furniture or equipment to start, plus practical problems like family obligations and a work-life balance.
For companies working partially or fully from home, the pandemic has forced them to adopt new policies and discover just how much they can accomplish remotely. There are several implications companies needed to consider when establishing the guidelines for working from home, considering it’s arguably more important than ever before to look after employee welfare. It’s an ongoing process to ensure workers have access to the proper childcare when required, as well as many other items, such as office furniture at home. There are also the possible discounts and tax breaks employees and employers may get for using home electricity and less transport.
Of course, transitioning from the traditional office to a home workplace also requires the right equipment and supplies. To keep business operating as usual, or at least as much as can be expected in turbulent times, employers must make sure their staff has everything they need to get the job done. While some employees may have been working from home part-time already, with a desk and office chair set up in their spare rooms, others would have little more than their work computer and maybe a printer. That’s why it’s crucial that employers check in with their employees to understand their home workspaces and what they may be missing outside the office.
Efficient Home Workspaces
Setting up a proper workspace at home all comes down to having the right equipment and office furniture. Each employee’s needs may be slightly different based on the nature of their work, but generally, a good solid desk is an absolute must. Classic wood or metal desks are a good starting point, but nowadays many people are opting for sit-stand desk ranges.
Instead of sitting all day, workers can swap their sedentary lifestyle for an hour or two on their feet with a sit-stand desk. This innovative furniture has gained popularity in recent years for the health benefits like relief from back pain and improved posture. Especially for employees working from home, it’s important to take breaks to stretch and stand. Ergonomic office chairs with cushioned support complete the perfect desk and chair duo for a home office.
At the end of the day, as long as employees have a computer and internet connection, much of their work may be done at home. Even when employees are working from home, they should be comfortable and in a good mindset to complete their work. Back cushions and supportive keypads/mouse pads can make a big difference. Printers, copiers, label makers, filing folders and storage cabinets are also good investments to make the teleworking experience more successful for both employees and employers.
The Future of Irish Offices
Only time will tell when and how Irish workers return to the office. Those who enjoy working from home and saving time on their commute will have more freedom in the future to continue their current working arrangements. It’s different for every company, with some taking a more flexible approach and others eager to get back to normal as soon as possible. Organisations that will be moving forward with remote work arrangements as the COVID landscape evolves may want to rearrange their offices to have more collaborative space for when multiple team members are in the office.
Moving forward, Irish businesses are likely to focus more on customisable furniture setups that are easy to change depending on the number of people in the office. Portable office equipment should remain in high demand so the transition from office to home and vice versa is smooth sailing. The easier it is for staff to work from home, the more productive a business can be no matter what the pandemic or other unpredictable conditions may bring.
Irish Office Supplies and Office Furniture
Whether your team is working from home for the foreseeable future or you’re gearing up for a return to the office, it’s best to be prepared with high-quality office supplies.
This article was supplied by b2b office interiors in conjunction with COSI Interiors in Dunshaughlin, providing quality furniture, interiors and beds at the best prices.
Get inspiration for your workplace — browse the wide range of supplies and office furniture on b2b.ie.