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Hybrid Working Models and Ireland’s Right to Request Remote and Flexible Working

In Ireland, recent developments, such as the publication of the new Code of Practice on the Right to Request Remote and Flexible Working, are reshaping how employers and employees approach work arrangements. Against this backdrop, hybrid working models have re-emerged as a practical solution that aligns with the principles outlined in the Code. Research by HR consultancy firm CIPD shows that 40pc of employers will offer more workers remote & hybrid working options this year.

Understanding the Code of Practice on The Right to Request Remote and Flexible Working

The Code of Practice on the Right to Request Remote and Flexible Working, issued by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), provides guidance to employers and employees on implementing remote and flexible work arrangements in compliance with Irish employment law.

The Code has now mobilised provisions of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 (the 2023 Act) which was signed into law in April 2023. The Code emphasizes the importance of fairness, transparency, and equality in the remote working process, highlighting the rights of employees to request flexible arrangements and the responsibilities of employers to consider and respond to these requests in a reasonable manner.

So, how exactly can employers balance the growing demand for employee flexibility & freedom with the new regulations? The answer may lay in the Hybrid working model and the benefits it can bring.

Integration with the Code of Practice

The principles outlined in the Code of Practice on the Right to Request Remote and Flexible Working align closely with the core tenets of hybrid working models. Employers who embrace hybrid working not only comply with the legal requirements set forth in the Code, but also demonstrate a commitment to fostering a culture of fairness, flexibility, and inclusivity in the workplace.

  • Fairness and Equality

Hybrid working models promote fairness and equality by offering all employees the opportunity to request flexible work arrangements based on their individual needs and circumstances. Employers who consider and respond to these requests in a fair and transparent manner demonstrate a commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive work environment for all employees.

  • Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration are essential components of successful hybrid working arrangements. Employers must ensure that remote and office-based employees have access to the necessary tools, technologies, and support systems to collaborate effectively and stay connected regardless of their physical location.

  • Performance Management

Managing performance in a hybrid working environment requires a shift from traditional metrics based on time and attendance to more outcome-oriented measures focused on results and deliverables. Employers should establish clear performance objectives and expectations for remote and office-based employees, providing regular feedback and support to ensure accountability and productivity.

Benefits of Hybrid Working Models

1. Flexibility

Hybrid working models offer employees the flexibility to divide their time between remote work and office attendance based on their preferences and job requirements. This flexibility allows employees to better manage personal and professional commitments, leading to improved work-life balance and overall well-being.

2. Productivity

Contrary to common misconceptions, hybrid working models can enhance productivity by providing employees with the autonomy to choose their work environment based on task requirements and personal preferences. By eliminating lengthy commutes and reducing workplace distractions, employees can focus on their work more effectively, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.

3. Talent Attraction and Retention

In today’s competitive job market, offering hybrid working arrangements can be a significant differentiator for employers seeking to attract and retain top talent. Many employees value flexibility and autonomy in their work, a recent survey released by CPL Ireland found that 60% of those surveyed would turn down a job that did not offer hybrid working. Companies that embrace hybrid models demonstrate a commitment to employee satisfaction and well-being, ultimately enhancing their employer brand and competitiveness.

4. Cost Savings

Hybrid working models can result in cost savings for both employers and employees. By reducing the need for office space, utilities, and other overhead expenses, companies can realize significant cost savings, while employees can save on commuting costs and enjoy a better work-life balance without sacrificing their earning potential.

As Ireland continues to adapt to the evolving realities of the modern workplace, hybrid working models offer a flexible and sustainable solution that aligns with the principles outlined in the new Code of Practice on the Right to Request Remote and Flexible Working.

By embracing hybrid working, employers can enhance employee satisfaction, productivity, and well-being, while complying with legal requirements and fostering a culture of fairness, transparency, and inclusivity in the workplace. As we navigate the challenges and opportunities of the changing landscape of work, hybrid working models will play a crucial role in shaping the future of work in Ireland.

At Voltedge Management, we understand the importance of updating your policies in accordance with evolving legislation. We would be happy to discuss with you updating your Work Life Balanace Policy and any specific customisation that may be needed to take account of your particular business requirements. Contact us at info@voltedge.ie or call at 01 525 2914 

Shane Prendergast, Senior HR Consultant and Client Services Programme Manager

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