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Trinity Business School has partnered with Ibec, Ireland’s top business confederation in launching a free series of workshops and seminars for businesses to rebuild in the Covid economy.

The Reboot & Reignite series brings together top academics, business leaders and industry experts over a series of eight online workshops.

This session, Workplace HR, Remote & Workplace Practice, will focus on the concept of a ‘distributed’ workplace, where it is going, and how Covid has accelerated the pre-existing and developing HR trends over recent years.

The seminar will cover both the benefits and opportunities that distributed working offers, but also some challenges that it confronts us with. The session will take place on the 27th October, from 1pm to 2.15pm BSE.


Joint with Trinity Business School, the session will be led by Maeve McElwee (Director of Employer Relations at Ibec) and will feature business leaders Margot Slattery (Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Sodexo Group), Clodagh Logue (Vice President, International HR, Fitbit), Alastair Blair (Country Managing Director, Accenture Ireland) & Amanda Cutajar (Global Head of People, Maples Group).

Maeve McElwee, Director of Employer Relations at Ibec says:

“Our member feedback demonstrated that, in fact a distributed workforce was already beginning to emerge quite significantly as part of a recruitment and retention tool. The only real difference was that it was quite conservative in terms of growth in organisations. Some organisations embraced it well, others didn’t. A lot of feedback was around management skills, particularly at middle areas of management, with people concerned about how they would manage people they couldn’t see.”

Alastair Blair, Country Managing Director, Accenture Ireland says:

“Great things happen when human ingenuity is applied to innovation. While we have seen some great things happen as we move to remote working – this can make innovation less effective. There are three main challenges. There is something special about the spark of ingenuity that comes from three people looking at a problem from different perspectives standing beside each other or in the vicinity of each other. The second challenge is body language. It is great to be able to use collaboration tools to bring people from all over the world together but sometimes body language can get lost in a virtual environment. The third challenge is the hygiene factor. We need to make sure that people are comfortable to get back to group settings, that they are comfortable to travel on public transport or be in the same space as others for a period of time. So I think we have to trial things very quickly and carefully. We are in a completely exploratory phase.”

Margot Slattery, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Sodexo Group says:

“It’s been a period of enormous change, especially in relation to the way in which we work. While I don’t believe we will return to the same model, I see the future as a hybrid model, a mixture of homeworking and office working for many business sectors. Global research which Sodexo carried out with Harris Interactive has shown that trust is the new corporate currency. 79% of employees working remotely during lockdown want the option to continue doing so to some degree.

“Despite this, there are significant drawbacks to virtual work that can have a negative impact on business at large. The research cited lack of social interaction as the top drawback with difficulty collaborating as a team in second place. Going back to a more “normal” life, mentioned by 53% of respondents, and 45% said interacting with their co-workers are the main reasons that have or will make employees happy when returning to the workplace. So, it is vital that organisations understand and respond to the new demands on their workplaces and teams, to rethink employee experience and address their concerns.”

Amanda Cutajar, Chief Human Resources Officer, Maples Group says:

“At Maples we have had examples of managing teams globally, very successfully, for a long time now and I think we need to step back and speak to those key people within the business who have always been doing this, who have always lead teams that are global and engage and learn from them first hand.

There are more opportunities in this new working environment than negatives. We just need to work through the challenges and be careful not to overlook or miss the upside that increased flexibility has provided the office and working environment.”

Clodagh Logue, Vice President of International HR Fitbit, says:

“As the continued prevalence of the pandemic shapes our working practices around the world, there is an increasing recognition of the ‘accelerant effect’ on remote work practices, the challenges it poses to previous norms and also the opportunities and questions it raises for the future.”

Join Ibec, Trinity Business School, and their panel in exploring and developing best HR practice for a distributed workforce. Sign up here.

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