A cultural transformation is needed in the employment sector to meet the rising demand for work-from-home roles, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Emer Currie, Seanad spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Work Life Balance, was speaking as e-recruitment platform irishjobs.ie published figures showing a significant increase in demand for working from home.
Senator Currie said: “Great news from irishjobs.ie today that shows the search demand for work-from-home roles increased by 53% in the period from January 2020 to December 2020. Furthermore, the number of roles advertised offering the option of working from home increased by a massive 1754% compared to this time last year. It’s good to see that remote working is finally showing up in job descriptions.
“This proves what we know – people want more choice closer to home in how they work, and that remote and flexible working can suit both employers and employees.
“It also shows the need for companies to think about a cultural shift in order to ensure there is a level playing field between those who work remotely and those present in the office. This can be done through a ‘Remote First’ approach, where teams are brought together by technology rather than location. That cultural transformation needs to be led from the top and throughout an organisation. It means your company isn’t just offering a choice, but equal opportunities.
“I would also encourage employers to think beyond working-from-home to location-less work, to reinforce choice. Working-from-home doesn’t work for everyone and not everyone wants it. A hub or co-working space might be more suitable. Some employers are already restructuring their offices to support the ‘Remote First’ approach and to support people who want to remotely or on-site. At the end of the day, remote working should always be about facilitating more choice where possible.
“Last week the Government launched the ‘Remote Work National Strategy’, a plan to put in place infrastructure around remote work – in our laws and taxation, communities and policies. As part of that I believe the Government should do what it has done for other sectors during Covid-19 and make ‘Homeworking Safety Guidance’ available to every home-worker in the country, supported by an awareness campaign, so they are aware of their and their employer’s health and safety rights and responsibilities while working from home.
“The Government should also roll out a communications campaign with case studies on how companies can be ‘Remote Ready’ for when offices reopen and they blend remote, office and hybrid workers. If companies are to embrace the cultural transformation needed to support more choice for workers, then Government needs to support them in doing so.”