Written by Cathy Burke
Working remotely is increasing in popularity among many companies across Ireland. Cathy Burke, General Manager of leading independent travel specialists, Travel Counsellors Ireland discusses the benefits that come with the flexible working revolution.
No longer is work defined by the daily commute into the office before retreating into a room for eight hours, only emerging for a coffee break and lunch. Instead, we’re seeing a shift in mindset, one that embraces remote working, flexible hours, Skype calls and internal social networking.
Remote working and flexible working hours can do wonders for morale and productivity in the workplace. In the large part, it allows employees to build their working day around the hours that are most productive to them. They can also schedule their work to fit in with personal commitments throughout the day, like family, hobbies or social occasions.
While not all employers support this smarter way of working, it is increasing in popularity. According to the most recent Census findings on commuting in Ireland, there was an increase of 14% of people saying they work ‘mainly at or from home’, while 18% said they have no fixed place of work.
Certainly, having flexible working hours can create an environment that is more satisfying to an employee’s lifestyle, improving morale and increasing retention rates.
Take the morning commute alone. A new Jobs.ie survey found almost a quarter of workers based in Dublin still spend over an hour travelling to work. Remarkably, almost half of those surveyed said they would leave the capital for a shorter commute.
Eliminating the dreaded rush hour drive every day through working from home can help lessen stress levels and increase productivity. It can also save on transportation expenses, and it is better for the environment.
For a lot of employees working remotely can also build a sense of ownership over their work — building self-confidence and improving morale and productivity, which benefits everyone in the company.
As for employers, by choosing to go down the remote employee route, the geographical limitations of where the head office is located is not an issue and they can gain access to an even larger talent pool when recruiting staff.
At Travel Counsellors, remote working benefits us as we have 75 travel specialists running their own individual businesses across the country, with the vast majority working from home. Our head office staff also work from home on a regular basis. With software, infrastructure and technologies at such a high standard, it means people can work without the need to be located in an office and I see first-hand the benefits this can have. Most importantly, you can achieve a good work-life balance. There is also increased productivity; a less stressed workforce; improvements in our travel specialists’ health and well-being; greater loyalty; and more motivation.
The modern office is evolving. While the traditional space is still very much alive, times are changing, and it’s time for employers to consider the benefits that remote working can have.
Cathy Burke is the General Manager at Travel Counsellors Ireland, an award-winning independent travel company whose global network of 1800 travel professionals deliver bespoke travel experiences to both the leisure and corporate markets.