A report by Ulster University Economic Policy Centre has found that only 17% of workers in Northern Ireland work remotely from home. That is half the amount of remote workers in the Republic where 34% of the working population do so.
Opportunity To Integrate Cross-Border Work Into Working Schedules
One positive aspect of the report said that, due to the increase in remote or hybrid workers overall, the opportunity to integrate cross-border work into working schedules has opened up. Remote working means no issues with long commuting times and more cross-border work could lead to higher wages here in Northern Ireland in line with their southern counterparts.
Many of the remote workers have indicated that they now have a better work-life balance and they have more time to do the things they want to do in their daily lives.
Number Of Factors Shaping Remote Working Practices
Speaking about the report in an article in the Belfast Telegraph, Ulster University economist Ana Desmond is quoted as saying:
“It is clear the landscape of remote working in Ireland is very different to that in Northern Ireland.
“From our analysis we can see that a number of factors have shaped remote working practices across the island of Ireland since the beginning of the pandemic, some more tangible and quantifiable than others.
“Looking to the future, there are a number of factors which will influence and impact the remote working landscape including long term productivity and innovation, nurturing and training of young people entering the workforce, commuting, housing and behavioural patterns and the effect of remote and hybrid working on our highstreets and city centres.
“Taken together, these factors will determine whether remote working is here to stay in Ireland and Northern Ireland as a ‘new normal’ in working lives, or whether it will be looked back on as a passing social phenomenon associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.”
And another spokesperson from the Economic Policy Centre at Ulster University is also quoted in the article, saying:
“While in the UK spending in travel, tourism and hospitality sector is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, in Ireland, in contrast, the same sectors affected by Government restrictions as UK have recovered to and surpassed pre-pandemic levels, even in places with higher levels of remote working.”
There will definitely be a further move to more remote and hybrid working practices over the course of this next decade, how we manage this transition could be very important to the future wealth of the country.