Government plans to introduce a right to request remote work must focus on hybrid working models in order to be effective. This was the advice of CPA Ireland, one of the country’s leading accountancy bodies who published findings of a survey of its members on the topic.
According to this research, the members of CPA Ireland, who support over 100,000 SMEs nationwide, are set to embrace remote working:
- Post pandemic 76% of accountants intend to move to hybrid working model
- Three days working in the office looks set to become the new normal
- 79% are ready for the introduction of this new legislation, planned for the autumn.
Speaking about the potential for remote working, President of CPA Ireland, Áine Collins said “Remote working will bring tremendous benefits including increased productivity and a better work life balance. Remote working will also support regional growth by supporting SMEs, something CPA Ireland have called for in previous years.
“However, for many businesses, including accountancy, nothing can replace the collaborative office environment. For that reason, we expect to see many businesses adopt a more flexible and hybrid approaches to working post pandemic.
“The government’s current plans for remote working have not given enough consideration to hybrid approaches, this must be central to their thinking. Almost half of CPAs (45%) say the planned introduction of a right to request remote work should have no negative impacts, but only provided this was limited to a few days per week. Should the right go beyond that, to permanent remote working, it could have unintended and negative consequences for many businesses and their employees.”
The survey also stated that CPAs believe the following would be required to support employees working from home.
- Broadband Improvements: 78%
- Funding to implement new processes: 43%
- Supports on new technologies or platforms: 54%
The accountants also gave their perception of Ireland’s economic outlook, revealing:
- The pandemic has had a negative impact on the business of 73% of CPAs
- The majority (59%) have not seen any improvement in recent months, while one in five has reported further deterioration.
- 61% of CPAs remain concerned about the economic outlook.
Responding to this Ms. Collins concluded that “Three priorities should be clearly signalled by Government to support SMEs in the immediate post pandemic period. The absolute imperative is securing cash flow for businesses and ensuring grants are fit for purpose. The second area is supporting digital transformation in businesses of all sizes through training, and the third priority should be supporting entrepreneurs, the backbone of the economy, by reducing the CGT burden on entrepreneurs".