Irish Government pushes for remote working to become the new normal.

Remote working
Alan Clerkin

Alan Clerkin

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Earlier today, the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, tweeted about setting up his new home office. He remarked “The Government wants remote working to become part of the new normal. If done right, the benefits will be huge: reduced business costs, better work-life balance, espcially for parents, less traffic, lower emissions and time saved on the commute.”

Mr. Varadkar, the new Business Minister, appears to be pushing for employee and employers to embrace remote working. A number of recent surveys have revealed that both employers and employees favour full or part time remote working. Today, he launched a public consultation on updating guidelines for remote working. The Department of Business wants both employers and employees to share their thoughts on how the Guidance for Working Remotely document can be updated.

Remote working can be aided by various services such as co working space, virtual office services, serviced offices, meeting room facilities along with a mix of reduced office space.

The Government today launched a public consultation process on guidelines for remote working, which has become a huge necessity during the recent pandemic lockdown. The consultation follows a report in 2019 which the government outlined guidelines on remote working and placed a focus on fostering participation in the labour force thought flexible working solutions. The guidelines are intended to address issues arising from remote working such as employment rights, data protection, security and health and safety.

The Minister added “Covid-19 disrupted our working lives and threw many of us into working from home or remotely for the very first time,” Varadkar said. “We learned quickly what was possible by using modern technology”. “It’s been an accelerator of change that was coming and while we all want to be free to return to our workplaces, we don’t want to go back to things exactly as they were. The Government wants remote working and home working to become part of the new normal.

The deadline for submissions from employers and employees is 7 August.