Wednesday 24 October 2018

Home, hub or hybrid? Former Dragon's Den star Bobby Kerr on why smart working will define the future workplace

Businessman Bobby Kerr
Businessman Bobby Kerr
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Former Dragon's Den star Bobby Kerr believes that the workplace of the future will be up to the employee to decide.

The leading businessman said, although social interaction with colleagues is important, employers need to allow their staff more flexibility.

"While I still like an office to go to I will admit I spend a lot less time in it. I like the idea of a base but I can see a time coming where people will take work on the move with them," he said, speaking at TechConnect Live.

"I think it will be a case of give me a quiet room for an hour and I’ll work from there, give me an hour in the car. I do like the idea that you can work from almost anywhere now."

Co-founder of Abodoo Vanessa Tierney had broached the topic of how she managed to change perceptions surrounding working from home.

The mum-of-two was inspired to set up the Wexford-based firm when she realised first-hand the benefits of remote working and flexible family life.

Already, thousands of employees have registered on the online careers platform, who typically earn between €40,000-€60,000 per year.

"People have the perception that remote working sometimes is a day away from the office or for start ups however the reality is smart working is actually empowering your employees to work in a location a percentage of the time that works for them whether from home, hub or in a hybrid model," she said. 

Bobby agreed with the concept of 'smart working' even though it may not be "everyone's cup of tea".

"I personally think it can be effective if you need to do a project or a proposal and you need some quiet time but I also believe the connection between people in the office is important not full-time but part-time certainly," he sadded.

Almost two thirds of Irish workers do not have the tools - or the authorisation - required to work effectively from home, according to a recent Ricoh study.

Over 5,000 key corporate and SME decision-makers, entrepreneurs, owners and managers turned out for the third TechConnect Live expo at the RDS.

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