Network of 400 remote working hubs planned by end of year

Hubs to facilitate ‘working from home’ Bill published this week, says Humphreys

At present, there are 177 hubs already using the ConnectedHubs.ie platform. Photograph: iStock

At present, there are 177 hubs already using the ConnectedHubs.ie platform. Photograph: iStock

 

There will be 400 Government-backed remote working hubs located across the State by the end of this year, according to the latest official estimate.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys will on Wednesday give an update on the rollout of the national hub network which will allow employees and individuals living in rural Ireland to work and connect with services, employers and other businesses.

The plan is the central component of the Government’s plan to ensure that all parts of the country have the requisite facilities and high-speed broadband connections to allow as many people as possible to work remotely.

At present, there are 177 hubs already using the ConnectedHubs.ie platform. According to the Minister, this figure is expected to increase to 400 by the end of 2022. This is three years ahead of the schedule announced last year by the Government.

She is expected to refer to her department having invested millions of euro in funding in the establishment of new remote working hub facilities and also in upgrading existing hub facilities.

Upgrade hubs

Ms Humphreys has said the hubs will facilitate the “working from home” legislation that Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has published this week, which gives employees the right to make a request to their employer to work from home on a part-time or full-time basis.

A fund of €9 million was committed last July to upgrade existing hubs and to create new ones.

One of the issues that has emerged for people working remotely is a desire to create a distinction between their homes and their work spaces. The idea of having an office-like hub within a short distance of where people live in rural Ireland would address that issue and create a clear demarcation between work and family life.

Research conducted by NUI Galway in 2020 showed that as many as 15 per cent of people working in larger urban settings expressed a desire to relocate to rural and smaller urban settings elsewhere in Ireland.