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The benefits of remote working are significant for all

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Minister Heather Humphreys

Department of Rural and Community Development

Rural Ireland, employers and employees all stand to benefit from a growing shift from the office HQ to the digital hub.

Spread across rural Ireland is a growing network of remote working facilities known as digital hubs.

These hubs welcome people of all professions and backgrounds who, for various reasons, have chosen to make remote working a permanent fixture of their lives.

Remote working has become, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the buzzwords of this pandemic.

We have all experienced its benefits: reduced commutes, a lower carbon footprint and more time spent in our own communities.

Remote working does not suit all 

For now, everyone who can work from home should work from home. But working from home, as thousands of our citizens continue to do, will not be the preferred option for everyone when we eventually emerge from this pandemic. 

In the longer run, remote working should not necessarily mean spending Monday to Friday working from your kitchen table or the office in the spare bedroom. In fact, I’m strongly of the view that this is not a healthy option for many people.

Remote working has become, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the buzzwords of this pandemic.

Blended working approach 

We all need to have a demarcation between work and home life. There are benefits to pursuing a ‘blended working’ approach that may involve working from home some days and working from an office or hub on others. That’s where the Connected Hubs initiative comes in.

In conjunction with the Western Development Commission, my Department is bringing together over 400 hubs into one single hub network. We already have over 170 on board with more coming on stream every month.

In the near future, I will be launching a new app so that people can book their spaces in their local hubs by simply pulling out their mobile phone. Digital hubs give people both the option and opportunity to live and work within their own community. Above all, it gives people a better quality of life.

For decades, we have seen global trends where our young people say goodbye to their families and communities and move to the larger cities to live and work.

I believe some trends are there to be broken. This is our one big chance to turn the tide. Let’s embrace the concept of remote working and continue to build our national network of digital hubs. 

In doing so, we will revitalise our rural towns and villages and show the world that while remote working may have once been a concept, in Ireland it will be a reality for decades to come.

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