CASE STUDY 1
I am a father of 3 and live in Moville, Co.Donegal. Prior to the Covid19 pandemic, I travelled over 1h 10mins each day (Monday to Friday) back and forward to my office from my family home.
Working at Director level, I have been able to achieve my career ambition to date, employed by a successful company whilst at the same time able to live in a place where I grew up. Although this means a relatively short commute (compared to other colleagues) my working practice is largely restricted by the fact that I cannot work remotely because I reside on the Republic of Ireland side of the border and my office is in Northern Ireland.
As a Director, I can be involved with up to 20 issues in a single day, some are complex, but others are mostly straightforward. However, this technically is regarded as working from home and prior to the pandemic I had no other option but to get in my car and go to my office to carry out tasks.
An unusual quirk of the current system means that I am prohibited from, for example, attending or speaking at conferences in Dublin despite the international dimension of my work. Remote working prior to the Coronavirus measures exposed me and similar colleagues to a personal tax liability on my income. This is unfair and not conducive to modern working practice for me or my team.
During the pandemic, remote working has proved vital in ensuring that I have been able to support my family in many ways during this unusual period. Post pandemic, I hope that we do not have to go back to a situation whereby I need to travel every single day. This would mean that I would be in a far better position to carry out family activity such as taking my kids to school or medical appointments whilst being able to work remotely within the same day without being forced to take annual leave to carry out personal and family errands.
CASE STUDY 2
I am an employee at a multi-national company who lives in Milford in Co. Donegal. My place of work is in Derry which means that I often must travel over an hour each way to get to my office. Over a working week this equates to over 12 hours per week. Around 550 hours in a working year.
Due to the fact that public transport is often infrequent, this means that my journey needs to be taken by private car. Living in a remote area reduces the ability to car share and I am only too aware of the collective environmental impact this has.
Due to the nature of my job, I am sometimes required to work in a shift pattern or arrive early or leave late if I am speaking with colleagues from the likes of the USA or India.
My work is largely technology led, even at my office – that is, meetings are often via Zoom; Teams or Skype and my work is hosted on various platforms that allows for collaborative working.
Prior to the pandemic my work life balance was completely out of kilter due to my inability to work from home. The nature of my work means that it can be carried out anywhere in the world, however due to the current restrictions I cannot do so 60kms away from my office.
Working from home (along with many of my colleagues) during the pandemic has shown that there is no barrier for this to happen. In fact, the reduction in my commuting time means that I have been far more effective in my day to day work.
Despite the anxiety caused by Covid19 the health and wellbeing aspects to working remotely should not be underestimated. The more relaxed approach to being able to integrate family life and working life has been invaluable and the mental stress of getting to work has largely gone away during this period.
CASE STUDY 3
I am a 48-year-old female, and mother of 2 young children. I live in Muff and work for a large multinational technology organisation based in Derry which provides a rewarding salary and has good work life balance options for its staff. The commute to and from the office totals 20-30mins per day, which is great, however, the team I work in provides production support which operates on a 24×7 basis.
This means that everyone on the team participates in an ‘on-call’ rota, making themselves available to support my company’s technology systems. The nature of the work means I should be available to take a phone call and work to resolve technical issues at any time during the night or day, or even at weekends.
As I live in the Republic of Ireland, I am unable to take part in the on-call rota, which means I am impacting my colleagues, my own career, and am therefore financially disadvantaged by not having on-call payments afforded to me unlike my other colleagues. In certain circumstances, I have had to participate in the on-call rota (due to colleagues being on holidays) but only under the proviso that I come into the office in Derry to conduct my work. I have, on a number of occasions had to leave the house well after midnight, just to go to the office for issues that I was able to resolve within 10mins; my NI based colleagues would simply have responded to the issue from the comfort of their own home.
The current arrangement makes it impossible for me to progress my career in Production Support, as the nature of the work means I need to be available at any time. I am now considering a change of employer to make my life easier and more comfortable for me and my family.