Covid-19 Ireland – Do I have to go back to the office, can I still work from home and what are the experts saying?

IRELAND removed most of the Covid-19 restrictions imposed earlier on Saturday, when Taoiseach Michael Martin celebrated that we had “past storm Omicron”.

Following the recent announcement, the work-from-home advice was rescinded today.

Advice to work from home due to Covid-19 has been lifted


Advice to work from home due to Covid-19 has been liftedCredit: Alamy
Some people will return to their offices for the first time in almost two years


Some people will return to their offices for the first time in almost two yearsCredit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

And after nearly two years, people will soon start going back to work from their offices around the country.

But many remain wondering whether they will have to return to the office, whether they can work from home in a hybrid approach, and what health and safety concerns may arise around them. around viruses.

Talking to Newstalk breakfast Today, Forsa Communications Director Brendan Harbor said Ireland should not “go back to 2019 as if it never happened”.

He believes that the return to office should be handled with the same care that many people do Covid anxious and about to face changes in restrictions.

“One of the very few benefits from the pandemic is that this model has been tested and shown to work,” Harbor said.

“After two years of mostly teleworking, most home workers now have stable arrangements for child transportation and aged care and other aspects to balance work work and family time.

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“We need to go back in stages to workplaces that acknowledge and respond to that, at least in the short term.”

He said it was important to recognize the benefits of teleworking and normalize it after the pandemic.

“We have seen some huge benefits of working remotely for businesses, employees and, more broadly, for society in terms of environmental impact, etc.,” Harbor said.

“Whether we have a pandemic or not, we think this is a good model where there can be an option for a combination of teleworking and working in the office and remote working is possible. if people want to.”

He added that most workers will prefer hybrid working methods in the future.


Meanwhile, employers who turn down requests from employees seeking to work from home can refer themselves to the Workplace Relations Commission, under the new law.

Tanaiste and the Minister of Business Leo Varadkar is to announce the heads of a right to work from home or telemedicine bill tomorrow.

While it wouldn’t give workers the right to automatically work from home, it would require employers to give good cause for denying the claim and possibly subject to court scrutiny. labor.

The Good Gael The leader today said that the Government “doesn’t want things to go back to normal” when it comes to offices.


“One thing that we’re concerned about happening, which we don’t want to happen, is that businesses and employers are just going back to things as they were before the pandemic,” he told reporters. happen.

“We want to see more people working remotely, working from home more, working more in combination.

“What’s happened during the pandemic is forcing people to work from home, not by choice but by public health advice.”

Tanaiste added: “We want to move to a situation where people don’t work from home because they have to, but they work from home because they choose to.

“What we are saying to employers is that you have to facilitate this, as long as the business is smooth, as long as public services are not compromised in any way. , you should strive to facilitate your employees when it comes to future work, working from home and working remotely.”


Varadkar said he did not anticipate that such a large number of cases could clog the Workplace Relations Committee.

“Really, the whole point of creating the right to request telework is not that we will see a large number of cases end up before WRC, but that employers will not only refuse requests.

“There’s going to be a requirement for them to take requests seriously, respond within a defined timeframe, and present a good cause that’s actually beneficial if they’re challenged.”

He added: “So I think what we’re going to do is change the culture and move the dial, so that employers are more likely to say yes, for fear of being taken to the WRC or going to court. if they say no.”


However, a leading employment consultant has warned that continuing to work from home could lead to new health and safety complications for both employers and employees.

DublinRichard Grogan, legal-based legal expert, explains that employers may need to conduct safety assessments in their employees’ homes if they want to work from home permanently.

I said The Pat Kenny Program: “The information I received was that a lot of employees; homes, especially when they were in apartments, would not qualify for health and safety purposes.

“There will be employers who say ‘you can work from home, but I can’t let you work from home, because your facility doesn’t meet health and safety standards’.

“Employers will now have a habitable workplace Leitrimeven though they are based in Dublin. ”

He added: “Under health and safety laws, it’s now a workplace and employers must make sure it’s a safe workplace.”


And Grogan told Newstalk that an employee home assessment would be very expensive for employers.

He explained that employees’ workplaces are clearly specified in their contracts.

This means that bosses can claim a breach of contract if an employee refuses to return to the office.

The legal expert added: “Unless the Government is going to make a law, we will be in a situation where health and safety checks are required.

“That’s the reality that I’m hearing right now, it’s going to be a big challenge, and you’re really going to need the bigger apartments, not the smaller ones.” Covid-19 Ireland – Do I have to go back to the office, can I still work from home and what are the experts saying?

Fry Electronics Team

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