Your work questions answered: Can I secure a remote working arrangement with one office visit per month?

A reader wants a bespoke arrangement to come to the office less than the stipulated minimum of two days a week

We are planning to relocate out of Dublin, but I would like to retain my current job by working remotely and attending the office on a monthly basis – out of line with the current policy of two days in the office. What is the best way to approach this change in the work from home arrangement with my employer without impacting our relationship and lowering my career progression opportunities? Is it reasonable to assume that an arrangement to suit both parties is achievable?

To answer this query, we spoke to experts working in human resources and recruitment for their perspectives.

While many employees are keen to secure remote working arrangements, including predominantly remote working as in this case, group managing director of Cpl Recruitment, Lisa Holts, says employers in Ireland appear equally keen for a minimum level of office appearances.

“The truth of the matter is, businesses want their people in the office for a minimum of two days a week,” she says.


Noting that just 15 per cent of all roles advertised on LinkedIn in Ireland on a particular day in May were fully remote, she says competition is “extremely high” for such roles.

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On the other hand, she adds: “We struggle to fill jobs that require people in the office more than two or three days a week. We find candidates are more attracted to companies who are flexible and relaxed in their hybrid approach, give autonomy and have high trust.”

She said employees needed to weigh up what matters most and “negotiate the best working practices and policies and benefits they can”.

Holts added that the deeper the specialism and skillset held by the employee, the more negotiating power they will have.

She cautions that, even if an arrangement of attending the office once a month was secured, it had to be sustained by the employee. “When they get it, then the employee has to give it their all – 110 per cent, every day – to protect it. Nothing comes without a price, including flexibility.”

She said a legacy of the Covid pandemic was that, for some staff, particularly those with long commutes, hybrid working arrangements were “a must”.

“Many people moved home during Covid and gave up apartments in Dublin, and they will not return to paying that rent. They have settled. So it is a negotiation as to what the future holds,” she says.

HR and employment law expert Caroline Reidy, founder of The HR Suite, described this query as an example of conversations happening in companies across the State with a growing number of employees placing increasing value on work-life balance.

She said approaching your employer to discuss a bespoke remote working arrangement may appear daunting, and suggested one way to approach such a discussion was under the auspices of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, which was introduced in March.

This law provides a framework for the employee to set out their reasons for needing to work remotely, and to state why they are confident they can fulfil their role remotely.

Employees can make a request under this legislation once they have six months of continuous service. The request should be made at least eight weeks before the proposed start date.

Each request is considered on a case-by-case basis and depends on business requirements, but there is no guarantee the employer will agree. However, employers must give a decision within four weeks, a timeline Reidy says is important for employees.

Reidy said that, legally, the reader should have few concerns about negative implications for their career progression, and that workers cannot be penalised or discriminated against, in terms of their career opportunities, for exercising their legal right to request remote or hybrid working.

If you have a work-related questions you’d like to ask our team of experts, from how to deal with difficult colleagues and big workloads to career progression, you can submit your question in the form below