“Ireland ranked fourth highest of the EU27 for the percentage who report Home to be their main place of work of those employed in 2019 with a rate of 5.4% compared to the EU27 rate of 2.9%”

CSO Main Place of Work and Commuting Time in 2019

How mental do the figures look considering our existing situation? Working from home was a luxury and an irregularity for a large chunk for much of our working population in Ireland in 2019. Even at 5.4% we were almost double as likely to work from our own residences than members of the other EU countries. Just how much has this dynamic shifted for good? The change is drastic, but what we truly don’t know is just how permanent it is likely to be for us. It is a contentious debate amongst workers and employers alike when it comes to productivity, efficiency and worker morale.

“In Ireland, those working in the Construction economic sector were the most likely to report having a one-way commuting time of one hour or more (24.7%), while those working in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing economic sector were the least likely (2.5%)”

CSO Main Place of Work and Commuting Time in 2019

One of the main benefits of remote working is the immediate absence of a commute. While industries like construction and fishing are never really going to see many people working remotely, it’s interesting to see just how much commuting there exists in certain industries. It was reported from the labour Force Survey Bulletin that in Ireland, the average one-way commuting time was 28 minutes. What is it now as 2020 nears its close? With that number being effectively 0 for so many office workers, an immense change has occurred since last year, and it is only reading reports from 2019 that put things into perspective. 

“In 2019, 7.9% of those in employment in Ireland are estimated to have a commuting time of Zero minutes. This compares to 4.3% of all those in employment across the EU27, with Ireland ranking the third highest for member states to report no commuting time while the individual rates for member states range from a high of 11.8% in Slovenia to 0.8% in Greece.”

CSO Main Place of Work and Commuting Time in 2019

Now that such a large portion of our workforce has a lower commuter time, we are likely to see huge changes on an economic level. Yes, people will spend less on public transport and petrol, but people will also begin to move away from Dublin city centre as it will be more cost-effective to work remotely in a cheaper city on the commuter belt. With no one commuting into the city anymore, small businesses will suffer from the drop in footfall, and offices will begin losing leases. This, of course, is only a likely scenario, IF things continue. 

How will 2020 finish in comparison to 2019? We have some idea. How will 2021 look compared to 2020, that is the million-euro question…