- Future Jobs Ireland is a whole-of-Government plan to prepare our workers and businesses for the future.
- Increasing participation in the labour force is a key priority in the plan, with a focus on flexible working solutions and affordable childcare services.
- The Forum will inform research that the Department is undertaking on remote working, which will feed into new Government policy in the area.
Thursday, 18th July 2019, Cavan Digital Hub – Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, together with Richard Bruton, TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, today hosted a consultation forum on remote working. The event, which was attended by enterprise, academia, policymakers and relevant interest groups, included a keynote address from Ben Wainwright of Abodoo.
The Forum was undertaken as part of Future Jobs Ireland, the whole-of-Government plan to prepare our business and workers for the future. The aim of the forum was to provide key insights for a new piece of research on remote working, which will ultimately feed into new Government policy in the area.
The research will seek to understand the prevalence and types of remote working arrangements within the Irish workforce, the attitudes towards such arrangements, and the factors which influence employers and employees to partake in such arrangements.
Pillar 4 of Future Jobs Ireland is focused on increasing participation in the labour force. Flexible working solutions, such as remote working, could improve labour market participation, particularly among parents with young children, as well as those with caring responsibilities, older people and people with disabilities. Under this Pillar, further actions are being progressed, including the provision of high-quality and affordable childcare services and improving incentives to participate in the labour force.
Minister Humphreys said: “As we approach full employment, there is no doubt that increasing labour force participation will be good for the economy. However, this isn’t just about the economy; it’s also about the wellbeing of our people. We spend a huge proportion of our lives at work and striking a sustainable work-life balance can often be challenging, particularly for workers who have long commutes.
“Productivity for workers should never be about working more for less. It should be about working better for more. That’s why, as part of Future Jobs Ireland, we are developing new Government policy on remote working.”
Discussing the benefits of remote working, the Minister added:
“The world of work is changing and technological and digital advances present us with new opportunities, particularly in rural Ireland. Remote working can breathe life into our towns and villages right across the country by allowing people to work and live where they’re from. It can also take pressure off our cities and bring environmental benefits with reduced commuting times.
“We need to consider, for example, whether people can work more effectively if they have the opportunity to work from home. Perhaps they will be able to spend more time with their families if they don’t have to commute to the office every day. Or maybe flexible working hours will help those with young children return to the workforce.
“It’s clear that employers can also benefit from having a flexible, happier and more productive workforce, but are there any barriers getting in the way, and can we remove those barriers? These are the questions we are asking stakeholders as we set out to develop new Government policy in the area.”
Minister Bruton said: “High speed connectivity will transform opportunities in rural Ireland. It will drive entirely new models of service in Health, in Education and in Enterprise that will help communities to carve out new economic activities. People will work remotely, receive services in their own homes, have access to technologies that make for smarter living, smarter learning, smarter farming and smarter business. It is a critical foundation for decarbonising our way of life and rebuilding the vibrancy and diversity of rural communities.”