Grow Remote’s five tips for navigating the lifting of workplace restrictions

Big conversations are happening across the country right now and one thing is very clear: remote working is here to stay. 

“The future of work has changed forever; employers and politicians must hear what employees are saying and take action to become a positive force for change in the Irish working landscape,” says Joanne Mangan, Employers Lead at Grow Remote. 

“We know from speaking with our Grow Remote Community members that a blunt transition back to full-time in-office work is a very stressful prospect for many employees. Some are disheartened and upset; others simply have no idea how to solve the sudden upheaval and the challenges it poses in terms of childcare arrangements or commuting.”

“On the other side, there are likely many businesses across the country who actually need to bring their teams back into the office in order to be able to begin building a purposeful, sustainable remote working model,” she explains. 

Here are Grow Remote’s five tips to navigate the lifting of workplace restrictions: 

  1. Listen

For months, employees have been voicing serious concerns about being “forced” back to the office. As an employer you must create a space for your employees to express how they’re feeling about returning to the office, and what challenges they face in doing so. Ask your employees to share their experiences, how they want to work and where they want to work in the future. 

Workplace anxiety has a major, negative impact on productivity so it is in your company’s best interests to hear and understand how your team is feeling. Remember, work is something your people do, not a place they go

  1. Collaborate 

If your employees are needed back in the office, co-create the return in a planned, safe and achievable way with your staff. Employers must be clear on the purpose behind the return to office plan. If your people are anxious and resistant about returning to the office, plan accordingly. 

Your employees are your greatest asset, but they are not afraid to make major changes in order to be in control of where, when and how they work: 63% of employees are considering a change of jobs in 2022

  1. Develop a remote working policy

Beyond this week, businesses who embrace remote working and build a strategic and sustainable remote model will be ahead of the competition for talent: 90% of 35 to 44 year old employees who can work remotely would like to do so post-pandemic. This figure rises to 93% in traditionally major commuter counties like Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow; and this is just the latest in a string of surveys 

Plan ahead, develop a robust remote working policy and make sure it is available to and understood by everyone in the organisation. This will help your organisation:

  • Mitigate compliance risks, 
  • Provide clarity, 
  • Attract and retain top talent, and 
  • Scale remotely. 

Grow Remote has industry-led guidance on developing a remote working policy

  1. Build your company’s remote working skillset

The planned and proactive development of remote working skills is vital for leaders and staff across industries of all shapes and sizes. Remote working is the future: the Government sees remote working as a permanent feature of the Irish workplace and this week we will see a draft bill on the right to request remote, hybrid or home working arrangements. 

Grow Remote offers fully-funded training courses, developed in collaboration with industry leaders and available nationwide: 

  1. Take time to reflect and learn

Now is the time to reflect and learn from peer companies, employees and remote working advocates and experts. Create space to plan intentionally and absorb the real-world benefits remote working can offer: scalability, talent attraction and retention, high levels of job satisfaction and productivity among staff. 

Grow Remote is building a unique space for employers and remote workers to share knowledge, collaborate and learn. We have developed an Employer Partnership Programme and are building a highly-engaged community of remote workers and employers