10,000 remote working spaces planned for towns

 

Around 10,000 remote working spaces are being planned for rural communities to allow workers to spend less time in the office and more at home.

It comes as a new survey shows a massive 94pc of workers prefer to work from home.

The National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) survey showed a significant increase of 11pc in the number of people who want to work from home since a poll at the start of lockdown.

Just 6pc said they did not wish to work remotely to any extent, which was a drop from 16pc who said this in April.

The number of respondents working fully remotely fell from 87pc in April to 68pc in the first week of October as there was more of a mix of on-site and remote working in the latest survey.

It comes as Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said Enterprise Ireland plans to provide funding for 10,000 "co-working and incubation spaces in regional locations" over three years.

"As a response to Covid-19, Enterprise Ireland have launched a €12m Enterprise Centre Fund to help enterprise centres impacted by the pandemic to continue to provide important services to start-ups in towns and villages across Ireland," he added.

The Tánaiste was responding to a parliamentary question from Clare TD Joe Carey. In a statement, the Fine Gael TD said the experience of remote working, forced upon many as a result of the pandemic, provides an opportunity to create a better work-life balance for employees.

Mr Carey said there is now "a real opportunity" to change the way we work for the better and "to breathe new life into our local communities".

He added: "This type of investment is essential to provide local authorities and enterprise offices with the means to start building the infrastructure to facilitate the roll-out of a new remote working ecosystem that can benefit local communities, local businesses and workers across the country.

"These facilities, along with the development of an innovative remote working strategy, have the potential to revolutionise work practices, creating more balanced regional development while helping us to meet climate change targets and giving employees a more positive work-life balance."

The NUIG survey found that almost a quarter of people polled (23pc) would consider relocating within Ireland based on their experience of remote working since Covid-19.

A further 7pc said they had already moved. The west (Galway, Mayo, Roscommon), the south-west (Cork and Kerry) and the mid-west (Clare, Limerick, Tipperary) were the top regions they relocated to.

Meanwhile, 16pc said they may consider moving, while just over half (54pc) said they would not consider relocating.

Speaking about the survey, Alma McCarthy, Professor of Public Sector Management, JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUIG, said: "There is a resounding demand from employees to continue to work remotely post-crisis. The remote working experience presents a game-changer for how many organisations will manage their workforces in the future.

"For those who can work remotely, they seem to have settled into it quite effectively six months on from lockdown."

Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission, said: "Identifying the opportunities and challenges will mean that remote working infrastructure such as broadband and remote working hubs, for example, will allow both individuals and communities to minimise the challenges and to make the most of this fundamental shift in the way we work."

Source – The Irish Independent