A ‘Quiet Revolution’ in the Age of COVID-19 

24th September 2020

Posted In: So In Demand

A new snap poll by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Ireland has found that 88% of business leaders say the impact of COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of their organisation in a significant or marginal way, while 38% of business leaders say the majority of their staff will be working remotely by the end of 2020.

Furthermore, 77% of business leaders say their business model has changed either significantly or marginally since the arrival of COVID-19, while 42% of business leaders say their work-life balance has improved since the arrival of COVID-19 with the increase in remote working practices.

The IoD Ireland survey was conducted between 17th – 21st September 2020, amongst the IoD’s 3,000 members, comprising CEOs/Managing Directors and company directors from all sectors of the economy, private, public and not-for-profit. It follows and compares with a similar snap poll it conducted in June in relation to work and workplaces and complements its quarterly Director Sentiment Monitor surveys which have been running for several years.

Maura QuinnChief Executive, Institute of Directors in Ireland, said:

“The ways and means of working are undergoing a quiet revolution.

Remote working and the increased use of digital technology is transforming the way we work and how we work and, simultaneously, it is impacting business models and people’s work-life balance. COVID-19 is still very much with us, but it is clear that, for many, there will be no return to the old ways of working. Life before COVID will be quite different in many ways to life after COVID, of that there can be no doubt.”

The key findings of the IoD Ireland snap poll include:

Digital Transformation: When asked, ‘In respect of your primary organisation has the impact of COVID-19 accelerated the digital transformation of your organisation?’, the respondents chose as follows:

•Increased marginally: 48%

•Increased significantly: 40%

•No change: 10%

Interestingly, no respondents noted that this has ‘decreased significantly’ or ‘decreased marginally’. 

Remote Working vs Office Working: When asked, ‘In respect of your primary organisation and in light of the new ‘Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021 Plan for Living with COVID-19’ from the Government, which statement is most relevant with regard to where your staff will be located by the end of 2020?’, the business leaders chose as follows:

•The majority of staff will work remotely: 38% (Interestingly, this number was just 18% when the question was asked in our previous June poll but with the time period as ‘once the lockdown restrictions are lifted’.) 

•An equal mix of staff working in the office and remotely: 19% (As per previous poll cited above, this was 40% in June.)

•All staff will work remotely: 12% (As per previous poll cited above, this was 5% in June.)

•A minority of staff will continue to work remotely: 14% (As per previous poll cited above, this was 26% in June.)

•All staff will be back in the office/workspace: 5% (As per previous poll cited above, this was 12% in June.)

•This issue is still too uncertain to predict: 11%.

Business Models: When asked, ‘In respect of your primary organisation, to what extent has your business model changed since the arrival of COVID-19?’

•Changed marginally: 52%

•Changed significantly: 25%

•Too soon to assess: 11%

•No change: 11%

Work-Life Balance: When asked, ‘On a personal level, has your work-life balance been altered due to increased remote working?’, the respondents chose the following:

•My work-life balance has improved: 42%

•My work-life balance is largely unchanged: 33%

•My work-life balance has reduced: 23%

•Unsure: 2%

Office Space and the Future: When posed the question, ‘Is your organisation planning to downsize its office space?’:

•50% said ‘No’ (when this question was asked in our June poll, this figure was 69%)

•21% said it is ‘Under consideration’ (in our June poll, this was 19%)

•15% replied ‘Not sure’ (in our June poll, option not included)

•14% replied ‘Yes’ (in our June poll, this was 2%). 

(The findings in this survey have been rounded up or down to the nearest decimal point).