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National Hub Network shows the future of the Irish workplace

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The Covid-19 pandemic continues, with many of us returning to work from home as we negotiate our way through new variations, boosters, and traditional Christmas events. But for many workers, the brief return to the office during the fall made one thing very clear: the world of work as we know it has changed forever.

There has been a lot of talk here about long-term remote working, hybrid and flexible working, and how these can fit into the modern workplace. Business owners increasingly recognize that offering a certain degree of flexibility has many benefits for their business in terms of attracting and retaining talent, as well as for the Irish economy as a whole – but most are still in the early stages of research on how these can be optimized within their own businesses.

The issue is becoming increasingly urgent, thanks to future legislation on the right to request remote work, which, when enacted, will serve as a backbone for HR strategy and implementation. Finding the best solution for your business is something every employer must consider now.

As Enterprise Ireland’s leader in regional remote working, one of the most exciting developments is the growth of the national hub network and its role in boosting vibrant regional economies across Ireland.

These hubs are more than just buildings for workers. They are part of the regional ecosystem, a favorite place for local start-ups up to established SMEs looking to develop and grow their businesses, a valuable contributor to a vibrant local economy, a wonderful opportunity for local employees. ‘diverse backgrounds who wish to advance their careers outside of major cities, and an important catalyst for collaboration and networking across sectors and disciplines. In short, these hubs will play a crucial role in the future of Ireland’s work landscape.

Enterprise Ireland started defending coworking centers before the Covid-19 pandemic, with its Powering the Regions 2019 plan. But since the Covid-19 coup in March 2020, the importance of these hubs has become evident. There have already been examples of successful co-working hubs – these include Dogpatch Labs and Guinness Enterprise Center in Dublin, The Mill in Drogheda, Wexford Enterprise Center, Merits in Naas, PorterShed in Galway and Ludgate in Skibbereen. Their success is due to their excellent facilities, including reliable Wi-Fi, excellent cybersecurity, access to the latest digital tools, collaboration and meeting spaces, and 24-hour access.

Recognizing the importance of the hub network to regional development and the success of our corporate clients, Enterprise Ireland has led major infrastructure investment initiatives on behalf of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment .

We have a relationship with the Community Enterprise Association Ireland (CEAI) spanning two decades and have supported CEAI as the coordinator of a world first, the development of the quality standards framework for the national hub network, known as QHubs.

The framework, unveiled last month, aims to provide world-class facility and service to businesses at all stages of their growth, enable hub owners and managers to provide excellent service to their users, and help the National Hub Network to work collectively towards the future sustainability. To help integrate QHubs, CEAI has launched a free preparatory development program for enterprise hub owners and managers, offered in partnership with Skillnet Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland is also involved in many other initiatives to support the National Hub Network. These include Grow Remote, a non-profit agency working in the areas of networking, job market connection, community development and free distance education nationwide. We also direct employers to the ConnectedHubs portal run by the Western Development Commission (WDC) to find and research their ideal coworking spaces.

As the company slowly reopens, regional hubs will play a central role in the transition to a new world of work. This is a positive change, providing a better work-life balance for workers and enabling employers to attract and retain the talent they need to move their businesses forward, while giving back to their employees. local communities.

Clare Power is a senior executive – Regional teleworking at Company Ireland. To learn more about CEAI and Q-Hubs, see www.communityenterprise.ie. Download the Enterprise Ireland guide, Designing the workplace of the future at https://globalambition.ie/designing-workplace-of-the-future/

Learn more about Grow Remote Training at growremote.ie/remote-ready-training/

Access the WDC ConnectedHubs portal at www.connectedhubs.ie