Dublin People

Benefits and challenges of remote work outlined in new guidebook

Remote work has helped some of Ireland’s largest employers access a wider talent pool and increase employee engagement and satisfaction – with no impact on productivity or customer satisfaction – according to a new remote work guide.

A new guide for companies on making the transition to remote work was launched last Thursday, October 13, created in partnership with some of Ireland’s most well-known employers.

The guide outlines some of the positive impacts of remote work for large organisations, and addresses some of the common challenges employers are still facing.

Grow Remote has launched the Remote Alliance Playbook to mark the one-year anniversary of the Remote Alliance, a forum for large enterprises in Ireland to come together to address the challenges of remote and hybrid work.

From left: ESB CEO Paddy Hayes, Vodafone Ireland CEO Anne O’Leary, eBay senior director Hazel Mitchell, Grow Remote chair John Riordan and Liberty Insurance Ireland country manager Stuart Trotter.

The Remote Alliance Playbook has been developed by Grow Remote in collaboration with founding Alliance members eBay, Liberty Insurance, ESB and Vodafone and is a summary of the learnings from these organisations as they navigate the transition to remote and hybrid working.

The playbook summarises the key questions employers are grappling with as they move to remote and hybrid, including how to manage uncertainty, when to bring people together for in-person time, how to deal with hybrid meetings, and how to ensure remote and in-office workers have an equitable experience. It also describes some of the positive impacts remote work has had on these organisations.

For example, Liberty Insurance, who announced in early 2021 that they were moving to a digital working model, found that remote work has given them access to a much wider talent pool.

In the first six months since the Liberty Digital Way was launched, the majority of new hires have been individuals who live in places outside of Liberty’s traditional office places. Since implementing the new model, Liberty has also been Great Places to Work certificated, received a Best Workplace for Women award and increased their employee satisfaction indicators.

eBay, another founding member of the Remote Alliance and a contributor to the Playbook, also found that remote work allowed them to hire from a wider talent pool across the country. It has given opportunity to people that would not have been able to come and work for the company, due to their location and proximity to Dublin. eBay has also seen improved employee satisfaction in remote workers, in particular in their work life balance. Importantly, eBay also found that remote working has had no negative impact on productivity or quality of customer interactions whatsoever.

As a result of the move to a hybrid ‘Smart Working’ model, ESB also found increased access to expanded internal and external talent pools, improved talent retention, and a more diverse workforce. Furthermore, ESB also found reductions in travel, printing and waste as a result of implementing a hybrid model.

And at Vodafone they have had very positive engagement from its people who continue to appreciate the flexibility of their hybrid ‘Future Ready’ model.

Joanne Mangan, Employers Lead at Grow Remote explains: “We know that remote work is good for individuals, for businesses, and for the wider community: the research backs that up.

“But implementing remote work at scale is very difficult and employers have no defined roadmap to follow.

“The more we can bring employers together to talk about their challenges and share their solutions, the more likely it is that we can make remote work stick – which will be to the benefit of everyone in Ireland”.

“Remote and hybrid are still a relatively new way of working and there are so many unknowns for employers”, continues Joanne.

“Grow Remote have set up the Remote Alliance as a way to address these unknowns head on, by bringing the leaders of some of Ireland’s largest employers together to talk openly about the challenges they are facing and, more importantly, to come up with solutions. We need more companies like eBay, Liberty, ESB and Vodafone to join us”.

Siobhan Curtin, Site Director, eBay Ireland commented about remote work and the future at eBay: “I am very proud of the success of eBay@Home which has helped our customer success teams to achieve a better work life balance and has provided us as an employer with access to a wider talent pool across Ireland.

“The initiative has also made access to rewarding careers more accessible to a wider group of people that might have otherwise been unable to apply due to geographic location or family commitments.

“We are committed to remote working and appreciate the benefits it provides in terms of work life balance, access to talent, creativity, and innovation and as an important action in our efforts to create positive environmental impact as a large employer.

“We envisage remote work to be a significant part of the benefits of eBay for a long time to come.”

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