Working from home
Remote working and working from home during a pandemic are not the same thing, but the opportunity has presented itself for long-term change for workers across Kilkenny and Carlow, many of whom previously faced long commutes according to local TD John Paul Phelan.
The Fine Gael TD says now is the time for the government and private companies to start thinking about long-term change in how we work.
"I am encouraging people to take part in the national consultation about remote work before the deadline closes this Friday, August 7," he said.
“Due to the pandemic, companies have turned a corner about accommodating workforces remotely. A third of households in the country have been working from home for months now, juggling home-schooling, home-working and home-rearing in a confined space without childcare and perhaps looking after other vulnerable family members. These extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures," says Deputy Phelan.
“People can see the opportunity and want long-term change that brings choice and flexibility. 60% felt productivity was the same if not better, 86% have no desire to return to traditional office based work right away and 76% anticipate more flexibility in how we work for good, findings from an Amárach Research survey show.
“It is important that we look now into setting up a taskforce between experts in remote working and employers. The idea would be to share learning and establish best practise to assist the rollout of a new remote working ecosystem that can benefit local communities, local businesses, and workers all over Ireland.
“Employers still need to ensure they are currently meeting their obligations remotely in the short-term and a good webpage has been put together by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation summarising them called ‘Guidance for Working Remotely during Covid 19’. A weekly employee online survey is one way of staying in touch, as well as daily team meetings and one to one weekly check-ins.
“September is a good time to trial something new, like Core Working Hours where employees can start earlier or later by three hours but everyone works the same core hours. This would put a structure on people’s day which may be lacking at the moment, while giving them flexibility to drop the children to school, collect them or do homework. There are also training opportunities for line managers to adapt to the move away from the one-size-fits-all approach.
“We have a real opportunity here to change the way we work for good, to improve work/life balance, regional balance, breathe new life into our local communities here in Kilkenny and Carlow and bring more people into the workforce. So I encourage everyone to take part in the national consultation on remote work by this Friday.”
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