More than half of Irish business leaders say productivity has improved with remote working, a new survey shows, but it also reveals that company cultures may be negatively impacted by the shift towards working from home.

The survey from technology company Expleo reveals that 89% of Irish business and IT leaders in Ireland said productivity had improved or stayed the same while working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

52% noted an improvement in productivity, while 37% reported a maintenance of productivity levels. Only 11% of respondents said productivity had declined due to remote working.

But the survey also revealed that 53% of respondents expressed concern that long-term remote working has impacted, or will negatively impact their team or organisation's camaraderie. 

It also found that 12% of companies have increased headcount during the pandemic, while 35% of companies plan to hire more people to address their IT skills shortage over the next 12 months. 

Additionally, 30% plan to outsource more IT functions and 43% plan to automate more processes to deal with their IT skills shortages.

Phil Codd, Managing Director at Expleo Ireland, said that since March of last year, the business community has been forced to conduct a remote working litmus test for large swathes of office workers throughout Ireland. 

"To the enormous credit of these workers, our survey has found that productivity has improved or remained the same for the vast majority," Mr Codd said. 

The Expleo Ireland boss said that with the Government outlining a new strategic approach to long term remote working, this workforce evolution looks set to continue. 

"To ensure employees feel fully valued and connected, it's imperative that business leaders find ways to boost employee camaraderie, culture and cohesion in the months and years ahead," he added. 

The survey also revealed business leaders' concerns with regards to the sustainability agenda with 45% of bosses saying they did not believe their company is doing enough to make their IT infrastructure more environmentally friendly.

40% also said they did not believe their business will be able to reduce its carbon emissions in line with the target set out in the Programme for Government of 7% a year. 

But some businesses are taking action and plan to spend an average of €735,329 on making their IT infrastructure more environmentally sustainable over the next 12 months. This is up from €578,585 this time last year, Expleo said.