The Central Statistics Office said its interviewers are starting again to call to selected households to collect survey information after more than 12 months of working from home.

The CSO conducts household surveys all year round on topics such as health, travel, crime and well-being.

The surveys also include the Labour Force Survey, a measure of the country's employment and unemployment rate, and the Survey on Income and Living Conditions, which is the official source of data on household and individual income.

The CSO has 100 interviewers collecting data from householders for these surveys.

But for more than a year, its interviewers have been working from home and sending letters of invitation to selected households inviting them to complete the survey via the telephone due to Covid-19 restrictions.

It said this has resulted in lower response rates.

But CSO said its interviewers, who are classed as essential workers, are now back re-engaging with selected households to improve the number of survey returns.

To prepare for a return to the field, the CSO carried out a risk assessment on the interaction between the interviewer and the householder and has now modified its processes to minimise risk.

All interaction with a household and an interviewer is in line with current Government and Public Health Guidelines, it added.

Richard McMahon, Assistant Director General, said the CSO has taken every precaution to ensure the safety of staff and the householder.

This means that the interviewer will remain outside the person's home and will maintain physical distance.

The interviewer will not engage with the householder for more than 15 minutes and will use appropriate personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitiser.

"To ensure the householder feels safe, the CSO will also send a letter to the household in advance letting them know they have been chosen to take part in a survey. If they would prefer the interviewer doesn't call to their door they can ring to arrange the interview over the phone at a time that suits them," Mr McMahon added.

To also improve survey collection, the CSO, which has traditionally selected households randomly, has created an email address to allow people to register their interest in taking part in future surveys at CSOTakePart@CSO.ie