It would be “very backward” to go back to a full home work policy, according to a group representing small and medium-sized businesses.

ISME’s John Barry says many companies are still just getting back on their feet and that having to go back to working remotely would be a step backwards.

After meeting yesterday NPHET recommended People work from home whenever possible and for employers you support the move.

The government will look into the recommendation next week.

John Barry, member of the National Council for ISME, said Newstalk Breakfast said it “doesn’t seem like logic” to focus on business at the moment.

He said, “When you consider that the workplace currently accounts for about 15% of total infections and cases, but with two million people in work, that is a very small number.

“The private home and the community is the highest broadcast area.”

The latest HPSC data shows that about 13.3% of the outbreaks registered since late June have been job-related.

That is around 25.3% in private households and 10.4% in schools.

Last week’s numbers show there have been 24 job-related outbreaks, out of a total of 173 reported outbreaks.

“People are needed in the office”

The government gave the go-ahead for a “gradual and cautious” return to work in September, although full return plans were delayed last month due to rising COVID-19 incidence.

Mr Barry said many companies have just managed to get employees back into the office after nearly two years of restrictions.

He said: “You can tell from the streets that they are very busy.

“That means people are needed in the office and many companies are already seeing an improvement in their business.

“To suddenly suggest that we now work from home again … I think it’s very much in decline.”

He also defended health and safety protocols put in place by companies to ensure people can work safely in offices and other workplaces.

He said: “Very extensive logs have been published and most employers have managed to keep jobs safe.

“I think work is probably safer than home in many cases if you also insist on socializing.”

Main picture: file photo. Picture by: Tony Tallec / Alamy Stock Photo