Flexible ways of working are here to stay, finds new Microsoft Ireland research – with leaders focused on trying to maintain culture and innovation

Press Release

Dublin: 5th November 2020: Microsoft has released new research into remote working in Ireland on 5th November as part of a pan-European piece of research commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Boston Consulting Group and KRC Research.

Some key points of the research:

The hybrid workplace is here to stay:

  • 97% cited the importance of changing their firm’s ways of working to become more innovative and flexible.
  • 71% of employees worked remotely during the first lockdown
  • Leaders expect 45% of employees will continue to work remotely. Employees expect to spend one third of time outside of the office

Explosion in remote working policies:

  • 72% of organisations have implemented remote working policies, (versus 22% last year)

Business benefits:

  • Productivity: Seven in 10 leaders (73%) saw equal or more productivity from remote workers.
    • For people surveyed in Ireland their best time of day to really focus was between 9 and 11am. The ability to do focused work plummets in the afternoon.
  • Retention: Well over half (68%) of business leaders see remote working as key to retaining talented employees, higher than the European average of 56%.
  • Sustainability: Taking a broader societal view, more than half of leaders (61%) see increased sustainability as a key business reason to adopt remote working.

Top benefits for employees:

  • 79% Dressing casually
  • 56% More time for hobbies
  • 46% Personalised workspace
  • 32% Working with pet by my side


  • 41% of leaders thought their companies were innovative around core products and services – The same number agreed with that sentiment in our research in 2019 (42%).

Innovative Culture:
An innovative culture is where employees feel empowered, where there is open communications with managers, and where there is a strong, inclusive vision from the top.

  • Employees in innovative companies:
    • 72% are equally or more productive when working remotely (vs 60% in less innovative companies)
    • 59% of employees feel empowered to make decisions.
    • 71% feel it’s okay to make mistakes.
    • 93% collaborate with colleagues seamlessly.
    • 94% can focus attention solely on the task at hand.
    • 80% feel that their contribution makes a difference in the company.
    • 90% agree that their team can get a lot done when they work hard.
    • 69% feel happy at work (vs 39% of employees with less innovative company cultures).

Leader’s challenges:
However, for many leaders, this year marked the first time they were responsible for leading people who were working remotely.

  • 58% said they feel they have not yet effectively learned how to delegate and empower virtual teams.
  • 56% of leaders found it harder to create a strong and unified team.
  • 51% feel they have not effectively learned how to be empathetic with their teams.


About Microsoft Ireland:
Microsoft Ireland employs over 2,000 people representing over 70 different nationalities operating out of One Microsoft Place, the company’s campus in Leopardstown, Dublin and our Data Centre in Dublin. At Microsoft, the company has a mission to empower every person and organisation to do and achieve more, not just here in Ireland, but right across the world. From software development, Microsoft International Operations, Finance, HR and Digital Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Ireland Sales and Marketing, we have an ambition to help everyone, through the power of technology, to achieve theirs.

Notes to editors
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Published at Thu, 05 Nov 2020 09:40:00 +0000