As thousands of workers return to the workplace today, a new survey reveals that remote working has saved office workers, on average, an hour long commute per day.

The survey was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of IT services group Auxillion and involved more than 500 office workers in Ireland.

The workers saving the most commute time are from Cavan, who saved 121 minutes, Westmeath (around 77 minutes), Kildare (over 71 minutes), Kilkenny (just shy of 68 minutes) and Wexford (roughly 65 minutes).

The research also found that 35% of Irish office workers believe working remote has improved their mental health, while 39% said their physical health had improved as a result of same, while 59% believe their work/life balance had improved.

The research also revealed that 82% of respondents want their company to offer a hybrid work policy when lockdown restrictions end.

While 22% want an even split between working from home and at the office, the same number want to be mostly working from home.

This option was found to be more popular among women than men - 26% compared to 17%.

Today's survey showed that no commuting topped the list (53%) of the benefits of remote working, followed by saving money (51%) and a better work/life balance (51%).

More flexibility also ranked highly (44%), as did reducing the carbon footprint/being good for the environment (38%).

Eleanor Dempsey, Director of Consulting and Competency at Auxilion, said that Irish businesses need to be able to operate in a hybrid world.

"While some organisations may never return to the office, others will be welcoming staff back in the months to come - putting an intense spotlight on their long-term strategies for staff, infrastructure, processes and governance," Ms Dempsey said.

She said that companies need to appreciate that the role and priority of work in their employees′ lives has changed.

"They also need to realise that employees can still be effective and impactful, while taking more time for themselves. The hybrid conversation is no longer about getting people connected during a crisis, but embracing it as the new normal and, perhaps more crucially, deploying it as a means of talent acquisition and retention," she added.