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Remote Working: The Benefits, Challenges and Unintended Consequences

by Derek McKay

The Covid-19 health crisis has tested businesses like nothing before; the speed at which businesses have had to adapt to the changing economic landscape has been relentless. Pre-Covid, many businesses had been reluctant to change their tried and tested work practices but now have little or no option but to embrace remote working, virtual meetings and online technologies.

New world of work – the next normal One wonders if we will ever return to how we did business prior to his crisis; will employees be content with long commutes to get to work, how will we assess our “working day” in terms of flexibility and caring responsibilities, how will employers and businesses get back to operating more profitably than before? One thing is for certain, every aspect of business will be thoroughly examined through the lens of productivity and the bottom line when we get to the “next normal”.

The way in which the vast majority of Irish employees now go about their jobs has significantly changed. For many, the new workspace is our homes; but it’s important to acknowledge that people are not working from home, they are at home during a crisis trying to work.

Employees are being afforded much more flexibility in their working day than ever before with employers understanding that there is a blending of work-life balance like never before.

As well as trying to manage a daily work schedule, there is added anxiety of childcare, health and financial concerns and of course, job security.

For managers, people management is very different when people are working remotely. Not everyone adapts to working from home easily; some of the simplest daily tasks can be more difficult as people don’t have the same structures around them as they would in an office. Simple things like not being able to ask a colleague for their input, not having the same level of technology available such as printers or even the use of meeting rooms to provide quiet space for thinking are all new challenges.


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