How Hybrid Work Models Are Expanding Government Participation in Ireland
The COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to change the way we work and go about our daily lives, and for elected public figures in many countries, this was no different.
Under the radar, a quiet technological revolution has been taking place in council chambers and assembly rooms in communities across the globe, where the adoption of video conferencing solutions means locally elected officials are also able to represent their constituents and make decisions on their behalf in local government.
Local officials want to maintain a hybrid model
To understand the impact of digital adoption and the shift to remote working on locally elected councillors in Ireland, Zoom collaborated with the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG), Ireland’s largest local government representative body. Together, we issued a survey to all of the 949 elected council members across Ireland to gain an understanding of the challenges and learnings local authority elected members encountered in transitioning to an online environment.
As the go-to video conferencing provider in Ireland and the most downloaded app in Ireland on the Apple App Store in 2020, Zoom was keen to hear where the use of video conferencing for local council engagements could be improved to help make remote working work for councillors for the future. The results of the survey show how popular the shift to remote working has proved and how hybrid working models could widen civic participation if maintained over the long term.
The survey found that:
- 77% of locally elected councillors want to maintain a hybrid model for local government post-pandemic.
- 81% believe a hybrid environment facilitates better family, personal, work, or study balance within their role as an elected representative.
- 51% believe that a hybrid environment will encourage more participation in local politics from underrepresented groups including women, those under 35, the self-employed, full-time caregivers, and people with a disability.
- 26% believe that being able to attend council meetings remotely will help the environment and promote sustainability in Ireland.
The full report and findings can be found here.
Ireland is blazing a path toward a hybrid future
Shifting attitudes to hybrid working are not confined in Ireland to local politics. As part of the government’s landmark Remote Working Strategy, people who work from home will benefit from new tax breaks – something Zoom has publicly welcomed. Alongside this, the government is establishing a network of 400 remote working hubs that give workers an alternative to the office – all enabled with and powered by Zoom. In a largely rural country, these pro-remote working policies are designed to help rebalance the Irish economy and reverse the brain drain that has seen Irish workers leave their communities to access employment opportunities in Dublin or a handful of other cities.
Working in partnership with government and businesses to help achieve the successful implementation of the Remote Working Strategy is a key priority for Zoom in Ireland. We are proud to help power the new remote working hubs and are committed to supporting local authorities to ensure they can facilitate a hybrid model for conducting council business that works for all council members and that exemplifies the strategy in action.
With local officials, government departments, and the private sector all working together to create the conditions for hybrid models to thrive, Ireland has the potential to emerge from the pandemic as a world leader in hybrid working and hybrid participation in politics, blazing a path for other nations to follow.
Download the Forrester report “A European Perspective On The Future Of Work For 2021” to learn how European business leaders are optimizing employee experience initiatives for hybrid work models.