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Full return to work-from-home would be 'very retrograde' - ISME

NPHET has recommended that people should work from home where possible.
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.44 12 Nov 2021


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Full return to work-from-home...

Full return to work-from-home would be 'very retrograde' - ISME

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.44 12 Nov 2021


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It would be "very retrograde" to return to a full work-from-home policy, according to a group representing small and medium-sized businesses.

ISME's John Barry says many businesses are still just getting back on their feet, and having to return to remote working would be a backward step.

Following a meeting yesterday, NPHET has recommended people work from home where possible and for employers be supportive of the move.

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The Government will consider the recommendation next week.

John Barry, who’s on the national council for ISME, told Newstalk Breakfast said there "doesn't seem to be a logic" in focusing on businesses at the moment.

He said: “When you think the workplace accounts for about 15% of total infections and cases at the moment, but with two million people going to work… it’s a very small figure.

“The private house and the community is the highest area of transmission."

The latest HPSC data shows around 13.3% of outbreaks recorded since late June were linked to workplaces.

That compares to around 25.3% in private households and 10.4% in schools.

Last week's figures show there were 24 outbreaks associated with workplaces, out of 173 total outbreaks reported.

'People are needed back in the office'

The Government gave a green light to a 'phased and cautious' return to workplaces in September, although delayed plans for a full return last month due to rising COVID-19 incidence.

Mr Barry said many businesses have just managed to get staff back into the office after nearly two years of restrictions.

He said: "You can see from the roads that they are very busy.

"That means people are needed back in the office, and many companies are already seeing an improvement in their businesses.

“To suddenly start suggesting that we now revert back to working-from-home… I think it’s very retrograde."

He also defended the health & safety protocols put in place by businesses to ensure people can work in offices and other workplaces safely.

He said: “There have been very comprehensive protocols put out, and most employers have succeeded in making the workplace safe.

"I think the workplace is probably safer than the home in many cases if you’re insisting on socialising as well.”

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Tony Tallec / Alamy Stock Photo

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