80% of financial organisations in Ireland are expecting widespread reluctance towards returning to the office workplace, according to a survey from the Association of Compliance Officers in Ireland (ACOI)

The survey reveals that a mix of wariness over public health and an overall sense of contentment with working from home will be among the reasons for a hesitant return.

The survey of over 300 organisations, answered by ACOI members with responsibility for compliance in financial organisations throughout the country, sought to gain insight into public attitudes towards a return to the workplace.

"In an overwhelmingly strong statement from our member survey, as many as 8 in 10 believe the transition back to the office may not be as seamless as one would think," said Michael Kavanagh, CEO of ACOI.

"While the reasons behind this are varied, it’s clear that there will have to be a departure in part from the more traditional workplace model," he said.

Just 20% of respondents felt that employees would be keen to return to the pre-Covid way of working.

"It’s very apparent that people now want more flexibility in choosing how and where they work – the pandemic has brought to the fore issues that we’ve been tip-toeing around for the past few years," said Mr Kavanagh.

Just 4% of respondents supported a full return to the office, with 81% forecasting that a hybrid model of working will replace the traditional office-based 9 to 5:30.

In terms of the transition to working from home over the longer term, the survey revealed that more than 8 in 10 organisations are preparing for a transition to long-term remote working – or will do so in the coming months.

"Workers want that flexibility, and organisations want their employees to be at their most productive – striking a balance between these two objectives and sustaining staff morale and motivation over the longer-term will take time and will require an element of trial and error," said Mr Kavanagh.