May 21, 2019


ICBE Business Excellence Skillnet was delighted to sponsor the Grow Remote Conference 2019 on April 16th in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo.

Remote-working policies will rival fixed-office locations by 2025 – rendering the future workplace unrecognisable.

“Millennials want this, and by 2025, they will be 75% of the total workforce so the writing is on the wall, it’s just a case of when will you embrace it”.

There were many excellent learnings and insights from this event.  See some of the highlights below.

Remote working can be a critical solution for Ireland:

  • Ireland is approaching full employment
  • Price of house in Dublin is 9.5 times average salary
  • Work/life balance is seriously important to Millennials
  • What are the skills that should be taught to prepare our next generations for the future or work?
  • War for Talent is real

John Riordan, Director of Support at Shopify, issued a 5-part Call to Action for everyone to “Up your game from ambassador to passionate crusader of Remote Working”

His five Asks are:

  1. Government – delivery of a tangible strategy to enable remote working all over Ireland
  2. Wild Atlantic Way – Encourage more remote working jobs in Atlantic Economic Corridor
    Package towns & villages as great places to work; not just visit
  3. Real financial incentive to drive local employment (currently e-worker allowance €3.20/day)
  4. IDA – Focus FDI on Remote Work – Invest in talent heatmaps
    Multi-nationals move some functions to rural areas
  5. Companies – It’s time to be brave and commit to working from home programs

Other insights from the conference were:

Managers of remote workers must:

  • Trust people
  • Focus on behaviours (just as important as technology)
  • Measure output not hours
  • Leads not managers / managers are supporters not commanders
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate

Top Skills/Attributes for remote workers:

  • Trust – Communication – Ownership
  • You are responsible for your times, tasks & energy
  • Act like a human being online

Changing mindset of management takes time – less micro-management & physical supervision means change in trust, culture and communication.

Benefits for companies:

  • Productivity increases
  • Greater employee choice, health & well-being
  • Significant cost benefits
  • Customers, communities, employees & society benefits
  • Macro issues in Ireland such as carbon footprint (commuting) & housing crisis

Critical Success Factors for moving to flexible/remote working:

  • Trust & belief
  • Effective communication
  • Visible leadership
  • Technical & structural supports
  • Remove barriers one-by-one / cultural barriers most challenging


  • Opening remarks – Ciaran Hayes, Sligo County Council
  • The vision for remote work in Ireland – John Riordan, Spotify
  • Panel: Building a remote company in Ireland & hiring talent (Wayfair, Scrapping hub, Shopify, IDA)
  • How I’ve built and empowered teams of fully distributed companies – Marcus Wermuth, Buffer
  • From Remote Worker to Remote Manager – Ryan Mesches, Teamwork
  • If I can do it for a farm in Clare – Lorcan Roche Kelly, Bloomberg
  • Remote is here to stay – Francesc Artigas Rost, Asana,
  • Virtual Networking: Finding Your Tribe – Laurel Farrer, Distributed Consulting
  • Transforming Ways of Working in an Older Organisation – Joanie Hughes, Head of Transformation – Ways of Working, Bank of Ireland
  • Remote Lingua Franca: The Language of Distributed Work – Tammy Bjelland, Workplaceless
  • Remote for Economic Development – Tomás O Siocháin, Western Development Commission


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