Danny McCoy, the chief executive of Ibec, has said the lifting of most Covid restrictions is a “positive development” and that a gradual return to the workplace can be done “that little bit faster”.
Speaking on Morning Ireland, Danny McCoy said employers and employees would have to decide how best to proceed on returning to the office environment.
He said everyone has worked hard during the last two years to contain this problem and in the vast majority of cases, businesses have found new ways of servicing markets.
However, he said clearly, it is people in sectors like hospitality and travel that have been most impacted, adding that hopefully they will get to see full capacity of all those venues.
The demand is there, he added
McCoy said that probably the largest amount of people who have been impacted by Covid-19 is in the office environment.
The focus now is on ” how we get this working from home and the balance with the office”.
“I think that is best decided at the level of the workplace between employers and employees, so that means more autonomy for the businesses and personal responsibility on the employees,” he stated.
The Ibec CEO said the Government and NPHET have done a great job but now it is about handing back those “decision points to where they are probably best made”.
The workplace protocol, on which employers, trade unions and government have been working, has been trying to make workplaces safe and ensure when people have to come into work that the right measures are in place.
“It is fair enough that people will have some reticence, but we have gone through two years now, we are not talking about wild abandon here,” he said.
“It is a gradual comeback to the workplace and thanks to the conditions, it can be done a little faster,” he added.
Mr McCoy said businesses working with employees will look to stagger and phase the return but hopefully that can be quite short and they find a new normal.
“There will be more hybrid working – there is no doubt about that,” he predicted.
He said that “remarkably” employment levels have never been higher and the labour market is tight and responsible and sensible employers will want to facilitate their employees.
He said the temporary wage subsidy scheme is important and the Government has indicated there will not be a cliff edge.
“We definitely need it,” he stated.