Sick of commuting? Tired of your workforce looking tired? Finding it difficult to recruit and retain the best talent? There's an alternative, and IP Telecom is there to help enable your business and empower your staff productivity.

It's deepest January and from 6 am most mornings motorways in Ireland are filling up with hard-pressed commuters making their way to offices in Dublin. With the commuter belt stretching from Dundalk and Drogheda in Louth, to Gorey in Wexford and inland to Mullingar, Irish workers are individually clocking up hundreds of kilometres every week with the commute there and back to the city.

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Why get stuck in this when you can be more productive working from home? Source: Irish Times

Not only is this bad for the environment, and work-life balance; when it comes to time wasted stuck in traffic, stress levels and unproductive time; the daily commute has a lot to answer for. With Dublin acting as the primary base for most large employers unless businesses and staff are going to relocate, there's no change in sight in the medium to long term.

So how can we keep Ireland's productivity up, keep attracting domestic investment and foreign direct investment to our shores, without adding further congestion to our capital; and most importantly keep our work colleagues healthy and happy?

The answer is quite simple - remote working. We appreciate that this doesn't suit all businesses, but for those who could remote work, we must move from asking "why?" when someone requests remote working to "why not?". With 125 million people worldwide set to be remote working by 2024, we must consider how we apply this global trend to Ireland.

Tools such as Microsoft teams, Dropbox, Gmail, Slack and G-suite allow us to share files and conversations as part of our day to day work and most businesses of scale enable some form of access to systems offsite. And with cloud-based hosted PBX ensuring that calls flows can be configured to colleagues' extensions or mobiles when offsite (let alone the cost-savings that VoIP brings to any business), the tools are there to enable remote working right now.

And it's not just businesses such as ours saying that. A survey carried out as part of the Government of Ireland's Future Jobs Ireland initiative found that:

  • 41% of workers said reduced commuting time a benefit of remote working 
  • 60% pointed to work-life balance as a key benefit. 
  • Most Irish employers surveyed saw increased productivity and cost-effectiveness as strong reasons to allow employees to work remotely.

Following the results of the survey, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys has created an interdepartmental group to develop clear guidelines for employees and employers on remote working. 

So how can business phone systems such as those that IP Telecom provides fit in with this? Future Jobs Ireland focuses on five pillars, namely:

  1. Embracing Innovation and Technological Change
  2. Improving SME Productivity
  3. Enhancing Skills and Developing and Attracting Talent
  4. Increasing Participation in the Labour Force
  5. Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy

All five of these pillars can be enabled via remote working, by embracing the technology that a cloud-based phone system can bring to your business, the changes that systems such as ours can bring allows goals 2 and 3 to be met. Through remote working, we can achieve goal 4 by enabling those for whom offsite or working from home suits, those with long-term conditions, the recently retired or stay at home parents can re-engage with workforce participation. And if they're not commuting, then that's going to help with our carbon footprint.

As an employer, your teams are going to be as productive as current, or even more productive as surveys have found that remote workers do an additional 1.4 days of work per month more than office-based colleagues. And even if you choose to allow working from home two days a week – that's 40% less commuting per week which adds up to a lot of kilometres. 

The tools are there for constant contact, and if you have enough broadband at home to run Netflix, you have enough for day to day office-based business needs – so start asking yourself as a business "why not?".

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