The Future of Work – Ireland

The Irish working environment

Filter the map below to see how the mood of Irish workers compares to those in other markets:

Irish workers remain productive, despite exhaustion and anxiety

Whilst ‘productive’ is the most common word used to describe how Irish workers feel in their workplace (32% say this), this is closely followed by feelings of frustration (31%).

 Ireland also emerges as the market most likely to report feeling exhausted (30% compared to 24% of the European average) and anxious (26% compared to 14% of the European average). Furthermore, a fifth (22%) feel overwhelmed, with this rising to 26% of female workers and dropping to 19% of male workers.

Despite this, around a quarter report feeling content (25%), motivated (24%) and supported (23%). This could explain why feelings of calmness are also present (23%). While one in six (16%) report feeling bored, one fifth (19%) are feeling hopeful about the future.

Reassuringly, there are only a few cases of sadness (11%) or anger (14%) among the Irish sample and just 5% report feeling paranoid.

Workplace culture

More Irish workers are comfortable talking to their boss about their mental health, than they are a pay rise

When it comes to their own, or someone else’s wellbeing, a sizeable minority of the Irish workers surveyed feel comfortable talking to their boss.

Over two fifths (44%) of the Irish workers surveyed say they feel comfortable asking for time off work for mental health reasons, compared to 33% who feel uncomfortable. Similarly, over a half (56%) feel comfortable asking for time off to care for someone else compared to 20% who feel uncomfortable.

Despite this, a portion of the Irish workers have felt compelled to lie when it comes to their mental health, with one in five (18%) reporting that they have lied to their boss about taking time off work for mental health reasons.

Considering career-related discussions fewer Irish workers report feeling comfortable talking to their boss. While three in ten (30%) say they feel comfortable asking their boss for a pay rise, 38% say they feel uncomfortable. Similarly, just over a third (35%) feel comfortable asking for a promotion, compared to three in ten (31%) who feel uncomfortable doing this.

Do Irish workers and employers share mutual respect?

Future of work

Three quarters say a 4-day working week would positively impact their wellbeing, but is it realistic?

There have been global conversations among governments and businesses about the possibility of reducing the 5-day working week to just 4 days, but do Irish workers think it’s realistic?

Across the sample, three quarters (75%) say reducing their working week to 4 days would positively impact their wellbeing, which is felt consistently across all genders. Furthermore, three fifths (63%) think they’d be more productive working within 4 days, indicating that workers could be more engaged and produce better work if their week was shortened.

Over a third (35%) would even go as far as saying they would relocate to another country that allowed the 4-day working week if theirs didn’t, indicating the impact it could have on staff retention if the initiative isn’t implemented.  

Nevertheless, despite a generally favourable view of the 4-day working week not all the Irish respondents think it’s realistic. A third (34%) say they don’t know how they’d fit their workload into 4 days and a half (51%) don’t think their employer would ever go for it.

Digital transformation hopes and fears

In the last year, a rapid shift toward automation in the workplace has sparked conversations around the potential benefits and challenges for businesses and their workers. Simultaneously, businesses are increasingly confronted by a looming threat of a cyberattacks or security breaches.

Compared to other markets, Irish workers are just as likely to report concerns around automation and cybersecurity. Just over a fifth (21%) are worried their role could be replaced by automation compared to almost a quarter (23%) of the European average. Similarly, 22% worry they’ll fall victim to a cyber-attack at work compared to 21% across all European markets.

Despite notable concerns among the Irish workers, there are signs of optimism when it comes to advanced technologies. When thinking about how artificial intelligence will impact their organisation, one in five (22%) Irish workers think it will be a good thing overall.

Click here to find out more about the Future of Work in other countries.