by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

A new survey by PwC on remote working behaviours found that employees in Northern Ireland aren’t working longer than they did before the Covid-19 crisis, yet the majority are more productive and would like to continue to work from home more in the future. Just over half (51%) of home workers in the region said that remote working hasn’t meant an increase in their working hours, and one in five reported that they’re able to work fewer hours to get the same amount done.

Despite this, three in four (76%) home workers reported they are more productive, compared to a UK average of 61%. Only Londoners said they felt more productive. And a quarter of people in Northern Ireland say they now find it easier to get their work/life balance right.

When thinking ahead to when lockdown restrictions are lifted, 47% of those surveyed in Northern Ireland would like to continue working from home more than they did before the coronavirus restrictions – a response which was mirrored by both Scotland (48%) and Wales (47%). The average across the UK was 39%.

Lynne Rainey, PwC Partner, said:

“The findings from this research could transform the workforce in Northern Ireland. Historically we’ve lagged behind the rest of the UK when it came to productivity but people are adapting to remote working very positively and getting more done. 

“It’s also encouraging that more people are able to strike the right balance between working and home life, and we see that a fifth of home workers have been able to learn a new skill – mostly in DIY or baking – during the lockdown.

“While it’s not possible for certain sectors, the benefits of supporting your workforce to work from home in the future are apparent. While certainly it may be a step-change for some companies, the savvy ones will be preparing for a new normal where almost half of employees want to work from home more.”

Four out of five (80%) employees in Northern Ireland said they had not experienced a high level of disruption since transferring to home working. This contrasts with the UK average of 54% who said disruption had been significant, resulting in a temporary change in their role. The highest levels of disruption are reported in the South East at 72%.


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