Have I even a remote chance of working from home long-term?

Q: I’m hearing a lot about remote work this weather. The idea of working from home really suits me but I can’t get my head around the fact that companies might actually offer this on an ongoing basis. Are we not all going to be shunted back into offices again once the vaccine programme has been rolled out? (AC, email).

A: Oh, it’s here to stay all right, AC, and it was coming, albeit at an infinitely more leisurely pace, even before COVID-19 worked its, er, magic.

People whose research and knowledge I respect – for example, @chris_herd on Twitter – are adamant that companies who do not offer remote work will struggle in the unfolding new world. They won’t be able to find people or hold onto those they already have: workers have seen a future they like and will gravitate to companies offering flexibility.*

Remote working strategy

Under Ireland’s remote working strategy, published in January, employees will have the right to request remote work and to expect the request to be given due consideration by their employers. Furthermore, it is now Government policy that 20 per cent of Ireland’s public sector employees will work remotely.

Further incentives such as enhanced tax breaks will drive this on still more.

But where does one look for all these remote jobs?

A good place to start is the remote jobs board on growremote.ie. These jobs are with companies all over the world but, crucially, they are verified as open to candidates based in Ireland.

It’s not a case of applying for a job and hoping to persuade the employer that they will let you work from home. Rather, the job is already remotely based – if it’s not you, it will be somebody else working remotely. Why can’t it be you?

There is a growing range of websites advertising remote-only work. In HR departments worldwide, stressed individuals are beavering away to update remote working policies and to figure out where exactly their companies fit in in this post COVID-19 era.

Online courses

I would recommend doing one of a number of online courses on how to be an effective remote worker. Companies will take comfort from seeing that you have studied what is required – as lots of people discovered this time last year; it’s not simply a matter of unplugging the laptop from the office and bringing it home.

And even if you somehow managed to cope with it all last March, you will require a more sustainable approach to home working if you’re going to stay at it for the long haul.

Remote working is not just working from home, of course. Enterprise hubs are set to experience growth in popularity and companies may embrace the idea of you travelling two miles to your local hub rather than 35 miles to the mother ship every day.

But, anyway, back to your first step, AC. Check out the growremote.ie jobs board, see what roles are available and take it from there. The site euremotejobs.com is worth watching too.

Do you need to do some courses? Brush up your CV? Improve your home office? No time like the present. Opportunity is knocking loud on the door.

*Not all workers want to work from home/remotely, of course. But growing numbers do.


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