The Irish government recently launched its first National Remote Working Strategy and according to the strategy paper, the right of the employee to request home working for their role will be underpinned by legislation.
The Covid pandemic has accelerated this strategy but the reality is that Talent Partners along with many other companies have successfully used a remote working strategy for a number of years.
We have all heard the expression “work is something that people do, not a place they go” and in upcoming discussions on the National Remote Working Strategy there is no doubt but that this expression will be repeated on numerous occasions.
The benefits to the remote worker include little of no travel time to work (some may opt to work in local business hubs as opposed to their house). Dropping and collecting kids to/from from school, meeting with neighbours for lunchtime walks, valuable time spent exercising instead of commuting, walking the dog, completing household chores etc. That’s before we even think of potential relocation within Ireland or remote working from sunnier climates during the Irish winter!
But what about the challenges employers may face in the new World of Work? Privacy and security issues spring to mind and what about the sharing of confidential documents and that is before we even discuss the employees physical workplace and the employers responsibility for same. HR Consultants may be happy with the extra work coming their way in developing the new working policies but how do we compensate for the loss of people physically interacting and collaborating together and building/enhancing the company culture? And what happens if a team are asked to come together physically to work on a project/assignment but one member invokes the right to work remotely!
The remote working environment will be a trust based environment. Trust can take years to build and be shattered in moments. How might one person’s actions affect the working environment of their colleagues. There will be an increased onus on the employer to clarify the duties and responsibilities of the role and ensure they are hiring professionals with the right skill sets to be successful in this working environment. It is not just the Employers who have the pivot in this new world. Employees will have to be upskilled and/or reskilled on the new way of work to maximise their performance and contribution to the business.
The National Remote Working Strategy is to be welcomed but it is the first step in a long and evolving journey. Talent Partners and MRINetwork will continue to keep you posted on latest developments in the World of Work.