Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland lags behind Republic when it comes to remote working, says study

New research reveals that the uptake of remote working across the island of Ireland
New research reveals that the uptake of remote working across the island of Ireland New research reveals that the uptake of remote working across the island of Ireland

Northern Ireland is lagging behind the Republic when it comes to remote working, according to a new study.

New research reveals that the uptake of people working from home in the Republic remains high at 34 per cent, compared to just 17 per cent in the north.

The Ulster University Economic Policy Centre (UUEPC) has compared and analysed the adoption of remote and hybrid working, pre and post pandemic across the island of Ireland.

Its report, ‘Remote Working on the Island of Ireland – a cross-border comparison’, offers insights into how remote working might continue to develop as part of future working life across the island.

Ulster University (UU) economists suggest the sectoral structure of the economy, commuting patterns, levels of self-employment, qualification levels and government policy are among the significant factors influencing the disparity in remote working trends.

Other findings reveal more job adverts now offer remote/hybrid working - 16 per cent in the Republic, compared to six per cent in the north.

The research also suggests a direct correlation between the people who commuted over an hour each day and the number who would like to continue remote working (93 per cent).

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However, when it comes to cross-border commuting, travel time may play a bigger factor for commuters from Northern Ireland who would typically travel further than those in the Republic, the study said.

UU economists suggest by reducing once lengthy commuting times, remote/hybrid working has made cross-border commuting more practical and viable for employees.

Economist Ana Desmond of UU's Economic Policy Centre said: “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."