Macra survey: 53% of rural young people would like to work from home

53% of young rural people say they would like to work from home or from a remote working hub in the future.

The young people were respondents to the Macra na Feirme Rural Youth Survey which posed a series of questions concerning their work/life balance and the impact of Covid-19 on their lives.

34% of respondents answered that they would not like to work from home or from a remote work hub in the future.

Macra na Feirme national president Thomas Duffy said:

We have already seen that young people have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic, not just in terms of loss of jobs but socially too.

“Thankfully, we have also seen some benefits emerging such as more time with family and new skills learned.”

Work/life balance

Over 47% of those surveyed were happy with their current work/life balance. Of that cohort, 30% shared that their workload has decreased since Covid-19 and 70% commented that their workload remained the same.

53% of those surveyed were unhappy with their current work/life balance. Within that group, 57% stated their workload has increased since Covid-19, with 43% identifying that their workload has stayed the same.

59% of those surveyed identified spending more time with their families as a positive to Covid-19, with 48% of respondents believed that there had been an increase in spending in the local economy.

Other positives identified included learning new skills, greater care towards the environment and more community spirit.

Experiences

One of the respondents to the survey, Claire Gough from Co. Meath, who works in the civil service, said:

“I have begun to love it; I was commuting from Athboy in Meath to Dublin city centre every day with about four hours in a car so now I have a lot more free time to myself in the mornings and evenings.

I have a quite strong internet connection at home but my phone coverage can be shocking at times so I communicate a lot by email rather than phone which can take time to get replies and can delay projects moving on.

Gavin Treacy, a quantity surveyor from Co. Galway, said:

“The issue of poor rural internet had a big effect on the speed at which I was able to do my work compared to the high-speed broadband that I was so used to having in the company office in town.

I work as a quantity surveyor with a construction company. Pre-Covid times my role and job would be 90% office-based with a visit to site once or twice a week.

“It has its ups and downs for many reasons. At first it seemed a nice change as the weather was good and there was a sense of freedom to working from home. But that soon wore off when the issue of poor rural internet had a big effect on the speed at which I was able to do my work,” he concluded.