Kilkenny TD calls for ‘extraordinary measures’ to end local workers’ commuter misery
The days of Kilkenny workers having to commute for long hours to and from their office should be numbered, a local TD has said.
Deputy John Paul Phelan said the experience of remote working – forced upon many employees as a result of the pandemic – provides a unique opportunity to create a far better work-life balance for people.
The Kilkenny TD was speaking ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for people to take part in the national consultation on remote working.
Deputy Phelan said: “Now is the time for the Government and private companies to start thinking about long-term change in how we work.
“Due to the pandemic, companies have turned a corner about accommodating workforces remotely. A third of households in the country have been working from home for months now, juggling home-schooling, home-working and home-rearing in a confined space without childcare and perhaps looking after other vulnerable family members. These extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures.
“People can see the opportunity and want long-term change that brings choice and flexibility.”
Deputy Phelan pointed to the findings of a new survey from Amárach Research, which shows 60% of people feel that productivity is the same, if not better, than it was before Covid-19 hit, 86% have no desire to return to traditional office based work right away while 76% want more flexibility in how we work in the future.
The Kilkenny TD added: “It is important that we look now into setting up a taskforce between experts in remote working and employers. The idea would be to share learning and establish best practise to assist the rollout of a new remote working ecosystem that can benefit local communities, local businesses, and workers all over Ireland.
“Employers still need to ensure they are currently meeting their obligations remotely in the short-term and a good webpage has been put together by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation summarising them called ‘Guidance for Working Remotely during Covid 19’. A weekly employee online survey is one way of staying in touch, as well as daily team meetings and one to one weekly check-ins.
“September is a good time to trial something new, like Core Working Hours where employees can start earlier or later by three hours but everyone works the same core hours. This would put a structure on people’s day which may be lacking at the moment, while giving them flexibility to drop the children to school, collect them or do homework. There are also training opportunities for line managers to adapt to the move away from the one-size-fits-all approach.”
Deputy Phelan said there is now “a real opportunity” to change the way we work for the better, to improve our work/life balance, to stimulate greater regional balance and “to breathe new life into our local communities here in Kilkenny and bring more people into the workforce.”
For more details on how to take part in tomorrow’s national consultation on remote working, visit: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Remote-Working/Consultation-on-Guidance-for-Remote-Working/