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Could working from home be the new normal?

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Could working from home become the new normal in a post-COVID19 world? Academics from Otago and Ireland are working together to help answer that question.

Dr Paula O'Kane

The working practices rolled out during the past two months at a scale never seen before, have allowed for an incredible opportunity to ask questions and crunch numbers on this topic, University of Otago Business School lecturer Dr Paula O'Kane says.

Her Work Futures Otago team is collaborating with researchers from NUI Galway, to survey thousands of workers who are in the midst of the working from home experience.

“We want to gather data on employees’ experiences of remote working in these unprecedented times, and to understand how they want this to influence future working from home opportunities given by their organisations,” Dr O’Kane says.

The survey seeks to find out how people are adjusting to remote working, what works well, what should be changed, what lessons can be learned, and how remote working is impacting on employee productivity.

From the results, the research team will provide recommendations for employers on how to better manage remote working in the current crisis as well as more generally.

“We want to influence the way people work in the future and use their voice to do this, the comparative aspect is fantastic and can allow us to see how different responses to COVID-19 can influence people’s attitudes.”

The project is being led in New Zealand by Dr Paula O'Kane, Associate Professor Sara Walton and Dr Diane Ruwhiu from the Work Futures Otago team at the University of Otago, but originated with Professor Alma McCarthy, Professor Alan Ahearne and Dr Katerina Bohle-Carbonell at NUI Galway and Tomás Ó Síocháin and Deirdre Frost of NUI Galway (Ireland).

More than 7000 people have already responded in Ireland.

The COVID-19 Remote Working Employee Pulse Survey

For more information, contact:

Dr Paula O’Kane
Work Futures Otago – Otago Business School

Lea Jones
Communications Adviser (Otago Business School)
Mobile +64 21 279 4969

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