Flexible working has been promised as a potential benefit of Ireland’s National Broadband Plan.
Following the signing of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) contract this morning (19 November), Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, outlined the potential the plan could have for flexible working in Ireland.
Among the references to job creation, better chances of attracting investment and improving the quality of life for those living in rural Ireland, remote working was highlighted as something that Irish workers can expect to see more of as the plan progresses.
The signing followed last week’s decision by the European Commission to approve €2.6bn in state aid for the NBP. Minister for Communications Richard Bruton, TD, said the new plan would deliver high-speed broadband to 1.1m people while allowing remote working, which would “ease congestion and reduce emissions”.
‘It’s about home working’
At the signing event today, Varadkar said: “It’s about home working – being able to work for a big company or a multinational from your own home in any part of Ireland.
“Already, 25pc of people who work for Apple work from home, and many more people will have that opportunity in the future.”
His sentiments were elaborated on by Humphreys, who stressed that “if we’re not fully prepared for this fourth industrial revolution then, as a country, we’re going to be left behind”.
She also spoke to the global giants such as Apple already making remote working a reality for their employees, which she described as a trend that is “only going to increase”.
“Apple, for example, employs 6,000 at its European headquarters in Cork, and over 1,000 of these employees work remotely from every single county in the country.”
Extending that same benefit to the rest of the workforce in Ireland, she said, could “mean substantial savings in terms of rent and property costs”.
Humphreys added: “It can also reduce the need to commute, leading to a better work-life balance and, for businesses, it can help to attract and retain talent, something that is becoming even more challenging as we approach full employment.”
Aside from more flexible working options, the potential that the NBP brings for facilitating living and working in rural locations and job creation was also a major topic of discussion.
“Just look at what has been achieved at the Ludgate Hub in Cork – a digital hub which has harnessed the power and benefits of one gigabit Broadband to deliver 100 jobs locally,” Humphreys said. “In fact, it has proved so successful that a second hub must now be developed.”