Remote Working – Why Covid 19 Could Be Instrumental in Adopting This Flexible Working Practice
5th March 2020
With two of Dublin’s biggest tech employers, Google and Indeed, instructing their staff to work from home this week as a precaution against the Corona Virus, it looks like we could be on the precipice of what could potentially be the biggest shift to remote working the country has ever seen.
At last night’s Code Institute panel discussion on Diversity in Tech Recruitment the topic of remote working was discussed as a major influencing factor in attracting and retaining a workforce. For some, the flexibility of just having the option was enough to satisfy them, even if they didn’t utilise it frequently. For others, it meant being able to be part of an organisation that wasn’t even located in the same province, let alone county, with a multitude of highly skilled and valuable talent sitting outside of the main commuter belts. With unemployment headed towards an all-time low of almost 4%, we can’t expect to just keep passing the same people around from company to company, so being able to tap into talent who wouldn’t otherwise be available is going to be key to growing and retaining a company’s workforce. Robbing Peter to pay Paul isn’t a sustainable option.
However, we are no longer at a stage where a remote working set up is merely a ‘nice to have’. With the very real threat of Covid 19 looming we are now in a place where from a contingency perspective we absolutely must equip ourselves, across as many of our departments as possible, for the prospect of having to self-isolate and work from home, as we reach an ‘Emergency Remote’ state. The impact of such an eventuality is too big to even contemplate for some companies, but there are certainly organisations who could continue to operate on a remote basis if the need arose. In fact, some companies insist on remote working, such as Microsoft in Dublin who simply don’t have enough desks for their ever growing force of employees. So how do you get Remote Ready, taking into account that offsite working can be more challenging for small Vs large organisations, (industry depending) with many of the larger organisations for example in the FMCG sector being better equipped to deal with it.
One of the speakers at the Code Institute event was Cian Collins, COO for Sligo tech start-up Franklin.io and also the county head for Grow Remote (www.growremote.ie), a community project making remote work local. They offer guidance and resources to companies and individuals interested in joining the remote world. For anyone planning on implementing such a contingency plan, we highly recommend checking them out.
Need inspiration on how other companies are doing it ? Check out the case studies on the Grow Remote blog. Instead of 2020 being the year of the Covid 19 virus, maybe it could become the year that your organisation adopts the flexibility of remote working, and maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect, and as Sancha Mulcahy, another of the panel speakers at last night’s event and remote worker at Red Hat, one of the best remotely equipped organisations in the country, says, ‘sometimes we need to work with a scooter not a Mercedes’, but we can still get the job done.