Employers should help defray the cost of home offices, says Ryan

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has suggested employers should help defray the cost of home offices where people continue to work from home after the pandemic.

The transport minister said it would make sense for large numbers of people to continue working from home and that while individual arrangements are the business of employers and their workers, it would make sense for businesses to provide assistance there where savings are made on the cost of office space.

“I really think we envision a future where working from home becomes the mainstay, a normal day-to-day thing,” Mr Ryan told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show.

“We want people to work from home, that’s one of the innovations that came out of Covid that we want to keep. People like that, not everyone and I think younger people could also have a social life thanks to the work, I think they are very happy that the restrictions have ended and that we can return to the offices, ”he said.

In many cases, he continued, “people working from home are very beneficial. The key thing that we need to put in place is the protocols and those are tricky in terms of how employers and employees decide how many days at home, how many days not, how it will work- is it the best?

“I really think we envision a future where working from home becomes the mainstay, a normal day-to-day thing.”

Asked about the costs involved, Mr Ryan suggested this should be decided on a case-by-case basis, but he sees a case for employers providing supports.

“These are the details we need to work out and it is clear that if you use home infrastructure it will be up to each employer and employee to determine where you actually establish a home office. It seems logical to me that the cost of these offices [at home] are covered.

“It would be a lot cheaper than providing office space in a city center, so I think that’s part of that.”

However, the minister said town centers also needed to be rejuvenated. There was too much reliance on people driving to work downtown and then driving home. There should be a more diverse range of property uses to create a better urban environment, he said.

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