We are probably all sick of hearing about hybrid working and adapting your work model to correspond with current health regulations and demands from the modern workforce. Over the last 18 months, most businesses have had to quickly adopt new initiatives and technologies to ensure employee safety whilst maintaining productivity. For many of us, working from home has quickly become normality, as adapting to these new ways of working is essential for business continuity. However, as we start to emerge from a Covid-19 world, the question is posed: “To what extent will remote work persist?” The reality is that the hybrid work model is here to stay. However, this means we need to find a balance between working in a remote location and workplace isolation.

The impact of Remote Working

In recent times, workers have been faced with the scenario, “I don’t want to commute, but I’d love to work in an office and meet other people”. Reducing workers daily commute has been a highlight in the remote working conversation. A recent survey conducted by NoCo and Trinity College Dublin found that drivers could save an average of 2.5 hours of commuting time every day by using a remote working location. This is a huge time-saving benefit for employees with 260 hours less time spent commuting to the office per year. However, although we see huge time-saving advantages, working from home can be isolating. Our own research with Office Pal showed 78% of people said they experienced feelings of isolation as a result of working from home. The introduction of co-working spaces addresses both issues surrounding commuting into cities and the social isolation of working from home.

Isolation wasn’t the only issue to have entered the conversation around working from home. For example, 85% of people experienced Wi-Fi and general connectivity issues while working from home or increased energy consumption at home leading to higher bills, which were not being subsidised by employers. Although employees reduce emissions from not driving, it has actually been shown that working from home is not as environmentally friendly as it may seem. A solution for rural workers is to take advantage of the network of flexible workspaces across the country. Employees can travel to a workspace in their locality, reducing their commute but also enjoying the structure and social element of being in an office space.

Many large scale companies are leading the way by incorporating a predominantly hybrid model, such as Vodafone, Hubspot, PWC and IBM. Vodafone’s internal research showed that more than 80% have been satisfied or very satisfied with working from home, with people rating activities such as ‘learning’ and ‘collaborating with others using digital tools’ as more effective from home. Some of Ireland’s leading companies (Vodafone, ESB, eBay and Liberty Insurance) have even formed a remote working alliance. The purpose of this alliance is to build an Ireland where employment is accessible no matter where people live. Paddy Hayes, Chief Executive of ESB said: “As we emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to empower our people to work smarter, enjoy the benefits of an inclusive, flexible working culture and significantly reduce carbon emissions through remote and hybrid working.”

There was once a time when remote work as we know it wasn’t even a possibility, because the technology didn’t exist. However, huge advances in technology and software have made the switch possible, allowing for a wider recruitment range and a larger talent pool as a result. In 2022, employees are no longer bound by their location; employees can work from offices all over the world, allowing for a huge expansion in industries.

In a recent survey by Morgan McKinley, three-quarters of respondents in Ireland said they would leave an employer if they did not offer their preferred flexible working options. In relation to ‘The Great Resignation’, Trayc Keevan from Morgan McKinley “The experience of the sustained public health emergency has prompted countless workers to re-evaluate their work options, fine-tuning a better work-life balance and making deliberate choices as to where their careers are heading next. They’re looking for opportunities that give them the right pay, benefits and work arrangements in the longer term.”

So what does hybrid 2.0 look like?

In 2022, we expect to see an increased interest in remote working despite the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, but shifting from working from the home to working from co-working spaces. Co-working spaces are independent office spaces that can bridge the gap between working in a traditional office space and working more at home. They allow employees to stay working in their community/close to home but without the negative impact of working from home itself.  Companies are increasing their adoption of coworking spaces, with these co-working spaces allowing employees to take advantage of open social interaction, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation – all in the comfort of their own local area.

In 2022, many people are looking to utilise coworking spaces – just because people can work from their home, doesn’t mean they want to. A recent survey by the Central Office of Statistics showed 18% of remote workers would like to work from remote working hubs, increasing to 24% in the West of Ireland. Work-life balance extends to remote workers who want to emulate the office experience, so they can leave work behind at the end of the day. ‘Leaving work at work’ is easier when you can physically pack up at the end of the day and go home.  A co-working space can also aid productivity. People find there is a certain amount of accountability that exists when you’re working among other people, even if they have nothing to do with your project.

How can NoCo help?

NoCo is a remote workspace platform that enables employers to discover, subscribe and manage remote workspaces for their employees. NoCo’s objective was to provide an alternative to daily commuting by offering an easy way for employers to provide a closer to home workspace to their employees through a network of suburban workspaces. We are now Ireland’s largest workspace network provider with remote working hubs in over 350 locations nationwide. Our service enables companies to connect their team to a network of close-to-home workspaces across Ireland via one membership, one monthly invoice and one point of contact.

NoCo would like to offer  IIBN members 3 months platform access (worth €147) to use our Pay As You Go service where you can book workspaces by the day or find part-time or a full time workspace. We’d also like to offer you 1 free day pass to use at your local remote working hub (worth €29).

To avail of this please visit the NoCo website or contact Adam Hankin – adam@nocoworkspace.com .

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