“I expected more people”

There were mixed emotions among Dublin office workers on Monday morning as the easing of restrictions gave them the green light to commute again.

Financial services worker Gavin Kelly was “shocked” to be offered so much space on the Dart during his rush hour ride to downtown. Coming from Blackrock, he was returning to the office for the first time since the start of the pandemic for a day of corporate training.

“I expected more crowds,” he said of his trip to Pearse Street Dart station. “It was actually perfect. There were even people with their bikes there, which was great, ”he added.

The decision to return to physical work was “collaborative” at Mr. Kelly’s workplace, with his employer listening to a range of perspectives.

“It was an overwhelming decision to come today, or at least start coming back… I think everyone is looking forward to meeting people again,” he said, adding that keeping the costumes once again was perhaps not so well received.

The push to return to his office was due to a large number of new employees. Monday was a training day for newcomers, and Mr. Kelly now expected to work two or three days a week.

“It’s good to train people face to face,” he said. The video call “played its part” during the pandemic, he said, and it will now fit into an “integrated hybrid” model. Office work “will never go back to the way it was before” before the pandemic, he added.

If I had a choice, I would stay home forever… I can’t wait to go back.

Employed in the marketing industry, Wicklow-based Marie (no last name) was less inclined to return to booths and boardrooms. As she got off the Dart station, she held up her phone with Google Maps on the screen.

“I’m going for the first time. I have my GPS because I don’t know where the office is, ”she explained.

It was not her decision to go to her workplace on the first day the restrictions on non-essential office work were relaxed.

“If I had a choice, I would stay home forever… I can’t wait to go back,” she said, adding that she found it easier to get to know her colleagues through of videoconferencing as if she had been in the office. She felt that seeing people working from their living room or home office was “more intimate” than clinical meeting rooms.

There is a benefit to getting out of the home office, she said, “I exercise more. I found out that I didn’t walk as much when I worked at home.

Most of the commuters approached said they had been back at their workplace for some time. A woman who ran past replied in an exasperated tone, “I’ve come all the way.” “

Gallery employee Eva Kovaks, who has been traveling for a few weeks, said there were “a lot more people” on her train from Ashtown on Monday morning.

“I think it was a lot busier than last week,” she said. After spending some time in the gallery, where she rediscovered the “great vibe”, Ms. Kovaks decided she was in favor of a hybrid working model.

“It’s good that we have the choice to work three times a week in the office and twice [AT HOME]. It’s more flexible, ”she said.

Accountant David Lafferty, who traveled from Shankill, said his morning Dart numbers were “about the same” as the week before.

“I didn’t notice anybody else,” he said. While Mr. Lafferty had been keen to return to the office to achieve a better “work-life balance”, he said many of his friends “don’t want to come back”.

Despite the green light from the government, Mr Laferty said: “A lot of people I know are not coming back to the office.”

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