The Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021 was introduced by the Government in January and will set out a legal framework whereby an employer can either approve or reject a request to work remotely from an employee.
A survey of 8,500 employees in April/May 2022 found:
- Of those who could work remotely, 52% were currently working hybrid, 40% fully remotely, and only 8% were fully on-site
- 37% indicated that they will change job and 27% indicated they are open to the possibility of changing jobs, even if it means less promotion opportunities if their future remote working preferences were not facilitated
- 49% of all respondents clock more hours while remote working, compared to working on-site; 45% work the same hours, and 6% reported that they work fewer hours
Source: National Remote Working Survey 2022, Western Development Commission/NUI Galway
A significant percentage (40%) of employees want to work from home all the time; a, 52% would prefer a hybrid approach where they are in the office for some of the week and at home for the remainder.
Many employers are now considering what ‘hybrid’ means for them, how they might meet this new employee demand, and what will need to be in place for these new ways of working to be effective.
For most employers, the introduction of hybrid working will require a significant culture shift and establishing new ways of working and associated policies and practices.
The latest ‘Cyber Resilience Survey’ (113 business leaders) from Dell, in partnership with the Executive Institute shows:
- Cyber resilience is now a priority, with 91% of organisations;
- 64% of business leaders said they are not sure their organisations have the capability to isolate critical data in the event of ransomware attack and
- 92% of respondents agreed that enhancing their organisation’s cyber resilience is important to ensuring the success of their digital transformation plans
The Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021 is part of the government vision to make remote working a permanent feature of Ireland’s workforce in a way that can benefit all.
The term remote work or hybrid work refers to the broad concept of an arrangement where work is fully or partly carried out at an alternative worksite other than the official place of work.
The policy objectives of the legislation are essentially to provide a legal framework around which requesting, approving or refusing a request for remote work can be based.
Employer Minimum Thresholds
Taking on board the legal right to request remote working, concerns of business leaders and preferences of employees’, there are four thresholds that must be met as a first pre-requisite when deciding on a request for remote working:
ICT & Security: That the Company has in place the requirements to allow effective homeworking from an ICT and security perspective. This threshold must be met as a pre-requisite. The Company’s ICT Officer/Adviser should complete an independent assessment before working from home can be facilitated.
GDPR and Data Protection: That the Company has in place the requirements to allow effective homeworking from a GDPR and data protection perspective. This threshold must be met as a pre-requisite. The Company’s Data Protection Officer/Adviser should complete an independent assessment before working from home can be facilitated.
Home working Space and Facilities: That the staff member has in place the requirements to allow effective working from home. A “Feasibility Self-Assessment” should be completed and returned by the staff member.
Health & Safety: That the staff member has in place the requirements to allow safe working from home. A “Health & Safety Self-Assessment” should be completed and returned to the company. The Company’s Health and Safety Officer/Adviser should be required to complete an independent assessment before working from home can be facilitated.
Employers will need to give careful consideration to the contractual implications of remote working. Where employees make a formal request for remote working through a flexible working policy this will amount to a formal change to terms and conditions of employment.
Employees should be advised to discuss any implications of homeworking with their landlord or mortgage provider and house insurer. There may also be tax implications if an employee wishes to work some of their remote time outside of Ireland.