KILDARE OPINION: Time for work life to catch up with high tech

Henry Bauress gives his views

Henry Bauress

Reporter:

Henry Bauress

Email:

henry.bauress@leinsterleader.ie

KILDARE OPINION: Time for work life to catch up with high tech

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A proposal. We should have aim to have everyone who works in a 9-5 job in an office on a PC or other computer device, working from home at least one day a week in the next five to seven years.

Especially people in Kildare, whose workers have some of the longest work travelling times in the State.

Think of the saving, on fuel imports, on emissions, and other benefits for human beings. Yes its not all about bots, you know, humans do matter too.

In February, we had some snow. Recall that.

A lot of people had to stay at home because of what was described as the “Beast from the East.”

It was the worst blizzard since 1982, according to those who know these things.

It led me to ponder on the possibility of working from home, mainly because there was little choice.

For some time now we have been listening to all the talk, some of it quite doomy and gloomy, about the planet running out of fuel and fears over climate change, increased use of the bicycle.

And how we had to save on this and cut down on that and recycle and “all that sort of thing” as the lads would have said in Fr Ted.

You could make it not one day but two.

Think of the effect of lower congestion on the roads. Think of the extra time you would have for yourself, your children. Perhaps less stress.

A downside of the computer, smartphone included, is that it can monitor your performance.

The upside of Little Tech Brother is that boss, if of that mistrustful mindset, can speak to you on Skype from your home.

For a majority of counties in Ireland, such a plan may not be very important but people in Kildare, Meath and Wicklow, spend more time travelling to work than any other county residents.

Last year we reported on the times taken to travel to work by people in Kildare generally, as revealed in the 2016 Census - it varies depending on location.

We found that it came to journey times, county Kildare had the third longest journey times last year.

Only Meath (37 minutes) and Wicklow (36.9 minutes) took longer, most likely reflecting commuting times to Dublin.

Recently, Wexford based Vanessa Tierney, of Abodoo, a relatively new company involved in recruiting argued a strong business case for remote working, year-round. “Apart from avoiding disruption during bad weather, remote working leads to cost-savings, better retention levels, higher rates of employee satisfaction, and greater opportunities for working parents, people with disabilities, and those living outside major urban areas,” she said.

It is better for the environment because people need to commute less, and it allows people more choice in where they live and the type of homes they buy, she said.

On the financial front, she added, remote workers save, on average, between €2,000 and €7,000 and hundreds of hours of travel time per year and 82% home workers report lower stress levels as a result.

Of large multinational companies in Ireland 15% now support home working figure and the number is increasing.

Companies that promote remote working report an increase in staff retention of over 50 per cent. and a reduction in absenteeism of 63%.

Also 91% of companies that facilitate remote working experience increased productivity.

Companies will save on average of €11,000 per employee that is remote and many start by implementing a hybrid or flexible model.

A lot to be said for it.