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People walking to work Monday morning in Dublin as offices are allowed to reopen after Covid 19 restrictions. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Workers are going back to the office

Thousands of workers are starting to return to offices throughout Ireland this week, and for many it will be for the first time in 18 months.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the move marks “another milestone in our recovery from the pandemic”. Indoor group activities are also being relaxed, while there are no limits on outdoor groups activities.

“Although the public health advice no longer recommends working from home, I hope employers are speaking to their staff to figure out what works best for them and the business,” said the Tánaiste.

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“We really want to see remote working become a permanent fixture of Irish working life. The pandemic has shown us that it can be done and I hope we can learn from what worked and incorporate it post-Covid.”

The Government has published a Work Safely Protocol, including guidance on ventilation of workplaces and vaccinations to reflect new knowledge and changing public health situation.

Minister for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, said: “Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, public health measures have been in place requiring many people to work from home.

“Initially this happened in an ‘ad hoc’ way but thanks to the considerable flexibility and effort on the part of employers and workers, this obligatory and sudden move to mass home working has worked well. Working from home has contributed greatly to keeping people safe and has played an enormous part in reducing transmission of Covid-19 in the community.

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“Employers and workers who will return to the physical workplace can be re-assured by the fact that the majority of the adult population in Ireland are now fully vaccinated.

“Notwithstanding these high levels of vaccination, current public health advice is that all existing Covid-19 prevention and control measures should still be adhered to whether workers are vaccinated or not. There, the control measures set out in the Work Safely Protocol will remain the key focus for employers, business managers and employees.”