Shifting Gears: Part 7 – Embracing a New Work Landscape Post-Covid-19

In times of crisis, humans have always demonstrated remarkable adaptability. Even before the sudden global lockdowns, both employers and employees recognized the significance of remote work for business continuity and survival. The swift implementation of remote work has been truly remarkable, with individuals who had never worked remotely before undergoing crash courses to adapt to this new way of working. While Covid-19 has undeniably disrupted traditional work practices, could it also be a blessing in disguise for the future of work? The benefits are already evident in environmental sustainability, as well as in providing an opportunity for self-reflection on our current work practices.

In Ireland, even before the pandemic, approximately 6.5% of the population was already working remotely, utilizing tools like Zoom and Slack. With the widespread availability of high-speed broadband reaching most communities across the country, including rural and regional areas like the Arran Islands, non-profit organizations like Grow Remote have successfully facilitated permanent employment opportunities in these regions by connecting individuals with remote roles in businesses. The current crisis has prompted people to reconsider the advantages of remote work, potentially leading to a shift away from cities towards smaller centers and areas.

With soaring property prices, high daily expenses in urban areas, and the fast-paced city life, millennials, in particular, are seeking new lifestyles and a more tranquil pace of life in suburbs and rural regions. Although it may involve sacrificing the excitement of urban amenities such as bars and restaurants, remote work enables millennials and others to afford reasonably priced homes with more space, while significantly reducing commuting time to work or remote hubs. As public amenities improve in these regions, more people may recognize the benefits of living outside crowded cities. While the pandemic has caused widespread devastation, it has also presented us with a new model for work and location that businesses and individuals must carefully consider even after the crisis has subsided. Moreover, this shift has the potential to become a catalyst for addressing climate change and alleviating the stress associated with living in congested urban areas.

Covid-19 has fostered unprecedented connections among families, friends, and communities, facilitated by technology, which has become a lifeline for entertainment, remote work, and communication. We are fortunate to have the tools to adapt to this new reality. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that not all countries have equal access to these resources. In countries like Ireland, where widespread broadband coverage is a reality, citizens have the luxury of choosing where to live while pursuing their careers. Therefore, ensuring broadband connectivity reaches every corner of Ireland is vital. The example of Arranmore Island in Donegal demonstrates the positive impact of modern broadband, helping sustain the island's small economy while attracting new residents. The Modam digital hub, established by telecommunication company Three, supports finance, IT, online education, and healthcare needs for the island's population while the Irish government implements its National Broadband Plan.

So, what lies ahead for the future of work and careers? Technology may prove to be our salvation in this situation. Like previous pandemics, this one too shall pass, and we will once again have the opportunity to meet and greet in person. However, Covid-19 has presented appealing alternatives for how we work, which can potentially achieve a better work-life balance while contributing to environmental sustainability.

If you sense a personal shift occurring within you and are open to exploring new ways of working, a conversation with one of us at HERO could provide guidance to steer you in the right direction. We collaborate with exceptional companies that are making a difference in their respective industries, many of which are situated in the picturesque landscapes of Ireland.

Perhaps moving away from the hustle and bustle of the big city is the gearshift you've been seeking.

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