A majority of business leaders (53%) believes the national COVID-19 vaccination programme will allow the economy to fully reopen in the final quarter of the year. Furthermore, a majority (48%) thinks most staff will return to the company workplace in the same quarter, Q4 2021, with 19% noting they don’t believe this will happen until early 2022.
As adjustments are made to the current Level 5 public health restrictions, 67% of business leaders also think employers should continue to follow the Government’s advice on remote working for non-essential staff. Interestingly, over 1 in 5 (22%) respondents also noted that the Government advice should be further refined.
These are among the advance findings of the latest quarterly Director Sentiment Monitor survey by the Institute of Directors in Ireland, to be published on 29th April. The research was conducted between the 26th March and 12th April 2021 and was completed by 245 directors and business leaders, who are members of IoD Ireland. The findings in this research have been rounded up or down to the nearest decimal point.
The research also found that a continuing slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is seen as the biggest risk to their organisations by 30% of business leaders, with an extension of Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions beyond Q2 2021 as the second biggest risk by 21% of the survey’s respondents.
Commenting on the research results, Maura Quinn, Chief Executive, the Institute of Directors in Ireland, commented:
“The reopening of much of the economy and the return of the majority of staff to company workplaces hinges significantly on the pace of the vaccination programme, with a slow rollout still seen by business leaders as the biggest risk to their organisations. That said, it is reassuring that a clear majority of them are of the belief that employers should continue to follow the Government’s advice with regard to working from home for all non-essential staff. Patience and compliance will serve everyone best over the coming weeks and months.”
Among the selected advance key findings of the IoD’s Director Sentiment Monitor survey for Q1 2021 are:
The Economy and Vaccination Rollout: When asked the question, ‘When do you think the majority of the Irish public will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 so that the economy can fully reopen?’ the business leaders answered as follows:
- Q3 2021 22%
- Q4 2021 53%
- Q1 2022 17%
- Later in 2022 6%
- Don’t know 3%
Return to Company Workplace: When asked the question, ‘In respect of your primary organisation, and in view of the phased nationwide vaccine roll-out, do you foresee the majority of staff being in the office/workplace by:’ the business leaders answered as follows:
- Q3 – July to September 2021: 18%
- Q4 – October to December 2021: 48%
- Early in 2022: 19%
- Don’t know: 6%
- Not applicable: all or most staff will work remotely in future: 9%
Government Advice and Remote Working: When asked the question, ‘Do you think employers should continue to follow the Government’s advice with regard to working from home for all non-essential staff?’ the business leaders answered as follows:
- Yes: 67%
- No: 8%
- Not sure: 3%
- The advice needs to be further refined: 22%
Biggest Risk: When asked the question, ‘At present, what do you believe is the single biggest risk facing your organisation?’, the top four options selected by business leaders were as follows:
- A continuing slow roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme: 30%
- An extension of Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions beyond Q2 2021: 21%
- Negative consumer confidence: 6%
- Political/economic instability: 6%