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What is the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and mandatory WFH on the work-life balance, productivity, and social isolation of Civil Servants in Ireland?

Curran, Adam (2021) What is the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and mandatory WFH on the work-life balance, productivity, and social isolation of Civil Servants in Ireland? Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on Civil Servants Working From Home (WFH) in Ireland. The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way employees live and work, and how organisations operate into the future. For the Civil Service of Ireland, mandatory WFH measures were required to curb the spread of Covid-19 and to continue delivering essential services to the citizens of Ireland.

This study focuses on the productivity impacts and challenges experienced by employees and managers that were shifted to mandatory WFH arrangements with no prior training or experience. Managers were also faced with additional challenges of managing virtual teams’ using information communication technologies in new ways. This research sought to establish if managers were impacted more so than that of employees.

This research reviews the impact that WFH had in terms of improving and/or deteriorating Civil Servants work-life balance. Another focus which was established during the review of literature is the impact of social isolation due to physical distancing measures, WFH arrangements and lack of interface with colleagues, work friends and management. Social isolation can impact employees mental and physical wellbeing.

The research process used to gather and collate information is a quantitative technique in the form of a survey issued to current Civil Servants across several Government Departments. Using professional connections, this research was made possible, and afforded an opportunity to explore the struggles and triumphs of 129 Civil Servants WFH during the Covid-19 pandemic. As there is a gap in current literature regarding the impact of mandatory WFH arrangements during the pandemic, this research is most opportune to examine the impacts it had on respondents fifteen months following the implementation of lockdown measures. The research survey focuses on producing objective and rational results without biases, as quantitative data can be verified and is less open to ambiguities or misinterpretation. The survey allowed this research to quantify the attitudes and experiences of the sample of Civil Servants to make generalisations and reveal patterns. Once the data was captured, the researcher used data analysis techniques and statistical analysis using SPSS software. The most appropriate analysis techniques, as suggested by Pallant (2005) were used to create findings and establish conclusions and recommendations.

The study revealed that WFH was new for 89% of respondents, and 98% were mandatorily WFH as it was compulsory due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The research revealed that managers performance did not significantly differ from that of employees, and the ability of respondents to deliver goals and objectives, effectively manage work performance, and the quality of work was unscathed. Overall, 64% identified that WFH had a positive impact on work-life balance, and 71% acknowledged that having flexible hours when WFH allowed them to better integrate work and non-work life. The research examined the impact of social isolation on home workers. Although the results were not indicative of social isolation and alienation being prevalent across the respondent group, a pattern of social isolation amongst respondents emerged. Considering the results, this is an area that requires further research to examine the impact it may have on the physical and mental wellbeing of remote workers.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > Ireland > Government Departments
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Human Resource Management
H Social Sciences > Economics > Microeconomics > Production (Economic theory) > Industrial productivity > Labor productivity
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Quality of Work Life / Job Satisfaction
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2022 12:21
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2022 12:21
URI: http://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/5303

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