Saturday 18 August 2018

Snowed in? Most Irish employees don't have the tools to work from home

Demand for flexible and remote working from employees
Demand for flexible and remote working from employees
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Almost two thirds of Irish workers do not have the tools - or the authorisation - required to work effectively from home.

While the public advice to shelter indoors has now been lifted, many offices were forced to close their doors during the worst of Storm Emma.

Furthermore, the majority of employees will have made the sensible decision not to attempt to commute this morning considering that advice remained valid overnight.

Industry sources expect the economic cost to shops, restaurants and bars will be more than €70m each day - following a shutdown of most businesses and transport modes yesterday and today.

A recent survey from Ricoh Ireland found that 63pc of employees in Ireland will have been unable to complete their daily work over the last few days.

At the very least, their productivity will have been greatly impacted by a lack of mobile workstyle supports.

According to Ricoh, Irish companies who fail to embrace the technology capable of empowering remote working could really suffer financially.

Read more: Storm Emma: Will I get paid if I can't get to work? What are my employee rights on a snow day?

Gary Hopwood, Managing Director at Ricoh Ireland, said that between 'The Beast from the East' and Storm Ophelia, Ireland has experienced two Status Red nationwide weather warnings in a matter of months.

"Events such as these impact the entire workforce and can cause a huge amount of disruption to unprepared businesses, in terms of both time and money," he said.

"Ensuring the safety of the workforce is paramount, however it is essential that employees can stay safe at home whilst having the capacity to work productively. That is where remote working technology comes in."

The research was carried out in association with TechPro magazine in November 2017.

Meanwhile, an Irish app which allows employees to replicate their office lines remotely is reporting a 300pc increase in daily usage in the past two days.

Magnet Networks said that over 2,200 of their customers activated the company’s Voice app for the first time on Wednesday and Thursday.

Voice gives employees of a client company access their desk phones externally either through a mobile handset or laptop - and allows them make calls from the same office number.

"Many of our client businesses already use the app widely in their sales teams, but with the current weather alerts, companies were giving it to their entire staff to enable them to safely work from home," said Mark Kellett, CEO, Magnet Networks.

"Once you turn on the app, your office phone stops ringing and your home or car seamlessly becomes your workplace across an unlimited number of devices.

"In less than 90 seconds clients were able to set up an out of office message if they were closing, and for the majority who remained open, they were able to get the app up and running in the same amount of time."

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