Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

11.00 10 Sep 2020


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Questions over whether employees will bear the cost of working from home need to addressed as companies continue to implement remote operations.

That's according to Edgar Morgenroth, Professor of Economics at DCU Business School.

It comes after Google pulled out of plans to rent a new state-of-the-art office space in Dublin’s docklands.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Prof Morgenroth said it was "not that surprising" that Google had decided not to rent more office space given that the majority of its staff are working from home.

He said we will have to wait and see how the company progresses in terms of office space as it has to date adapted its buildings as places where staff would want to spend time.

He said: "There is an issue that many firms are looking into if it is possible to work from home without a loss of productivity then it probably is cheaper for a firm to reduce the size of its office space and essentially allow workers to have their own office space at home."

This would lead to higher costs for employees, however, who will need to equip their homes with office furniture and spend more money on electricity and heating.

Prof Morgenroth said: "There is a question of whether employees will end up bearing the costs or if the employer and tax system will help them with that."

He added that it would not be easy for new staff to learn the ethos of the new company.

He said: "Maintaining the corporate culture, getting staff to know each other and having a shared purpose is going to be so much more difficult for firms.

"There is a chance that could affect productively and lead to other problems with understandings etc that's going to have costs.

"I would imagine that as we get used to living with this...eventually we will be able to manage this more appropriately and with less restrictions.

"I think we will see a return to something more normal."

Firms pushing "some of the costs towards employees" will have an impact on the rental market, he said, and some new construction in cities may not be needed.

Prof Morgenroth added that there is a possibility for people to live further away from cities if they are working from home, and the dispersal of populations would also have an impact on footfall in urban centres.

He added that this could lead to planning related changes in the long term.

Main image: File photo of a person working on a laptop at a dining room table set up as a remote office to work from home. Credit: Press Association 

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