A new report from Pramerica has indicated that just 1 to 2 per cent of their employees worked at their Letterkenny campus during the Covid-19 lockdown.
With more than 1,650 employees in all working for the largest employer in Donegal, that meant many hundreds of their staff worked from home over the last few months.
High quality broadband has been cited as the catalyst for the move with working from home more set to become a firm focus for the company going forward.
The campus was made available for up to 500 people on short notice if there were a connectivity problem, but the number of people who used the campus remained fairly steady.
In addition, Pramerica only paused recruitment for two weeks during the lockdown, then began to hire staff remotely, sending applicants online applications that provided a remote experience of the work, and meeting with them through the company’s own video platform.
The company closed their small satellite premises in Buncrana, Donegal town and Gaoth Dobhair for the lockdown because of the difficulty in managing social distancing there.
It’s understood that only about a dozen Pramerica staff could not manage working at home due to connectivity issues.
Pramerica had been monitoring the Covid-19 situation and anticipated a lockdown was coming.
About 10 days before the government called on people to work from home where possible, they tested their business continuity – their ability to have people work from home – with about a quarter of their staff.
The company has given reassurances that it will follow government protocols in terms of returning to the Letterkenny campus, and will also reduce campus capacity by two-thirds before then.
This means nearly 1,500 desks on the campus will be reduced to about 500, to allow for social distancing.
And that means more people will work from home more regularly, with staff sharing desks for those days they are in the office and daily deep cleans of the campus. He said they expect about half the staff to remain full-time remote workers, though anyone not in an at-risk category will be asked to come in once a month to touch base with colleagues.
Meanwhile, a survey Pramerica took of its employees recently indicated staff would support the new arrangement: Out of about 1,400 respondents, only 92 people said they wanted to return to the office full time.