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123: The future of work: the remote and hybrid road with Aoife O’Brien
16th September 2022 • Happier At Work® • Aoife O'Brien
00:00:00 00:11:02

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Welcome back to Happier at Work! In this week’s solo episode, Aoife turns her attention to the hot topic and rising business trends of remote and hybrid work, exploring how each working model differs.

Throughout the discussion, Aoife unpacks what the future of work might look like and provides tips on maintaining productivity in a non-office environment and avoiding job burnout. Aoife also delves into the great debate of whether remote workers should be paid less. Key points throughout the episode include:

- The difference between remote work and hybrid working.

- Social interaction and collaboration: striking a balance when working from home.

- How to connect, encourage and engage teams remotely.

- Tax considerations when working remotely abroad.

- Do you work best at home?

- Managerial fears and trust issues linked to remote working.

- The importance of setting boundaries at work to avoid burnout.

- The wages debate: should remote workers be paid less?


Do you have any feedback or thoughts on this discussion? If so, please connect with Aoife via the links below and let her know. Aoife would love to hear from you!

Connect with Happier at Work host Aoife O’Brien:


Aoife O'Brien:

Are you looking to improve employee engagement and retention? Do you struggle with decisions on who to hire or who to promote? I have an amazing opportunity for forward thinking purpose-led people first organisations to work with me on the first pilot Happier at Work program for corporates. The program is entirely science backed and you will have tangible outcomes in relation to employee engagement, retention, performance and productivity. The program is aimed at people leaders with responsibility for hiring and promotion decisions. If this sounds like you, please get in touch at That's A O I F E at You're listening to the Happier at Work podcast. I'm your host Aoife O'Brien. This is the podcast for leaders who put people first, the podcast covers four broad themes, engagement and belonging, performance and productivity, leadership equity, and the future of work. Everything to do with the Happier at Work podcast relates to employee retention, you can find out more at Hello, and welcome to this week's solo episode of the Happier at Work podcast. I am recording this, you will be listening to it probably a few months later but I'm recording this before heading way to work remotely in Tenerife. And I thought, how apt that I'm recording it at exactly this time. And when I returned from Tenerife, I will also be recording an episode of some of my key learnings, just like I did after my stint in Tenerife in January. So today, the focus is on this idea of remote and hybrid work. And I suppose the first thing that I wanted to address in relation to this is that their terms are often used interchangeably. So we often say remote hybrid, or remote and hybrid as if they are the same thing. So I just wanted to call that out that they're not exactly the same thing. For me remote implies that you can you can essentially work from anywhere, whereas hybrid because it requires you to be in the office, there is a degree that you need to be at least within some sort of commuting distance of that office. I've also seen a lot of jobs advertised as remote or remote first, which is really, really great to see. But then upon digging into this and from you know from hearing out in the market, what's going on is oftentimes jobs are being advertised as remote but they're actually not remote. And it can be used as a way to I don't mean lower people in but it appeal to people, because they're saying that it's remote first or that they have a hybrid working policy. But then in fact, the they're using this as kind of like a cultural hook to get people in and get people interested in working in that organisation. And then making demands that people work for the full five days in the office. And so I thought that's quite an interesting trend that's happening a lot. And I've also heard stories of people being scammed. So because remote is so popular at the moment, and that I'm not aware of and if you are aware of I'd love to to hear more about it on I'm going to do more research about this as well of a specific job site that you can search for remote first jobs or remote only jobs. I know that LinkedIn, they have a way to flag something that's remote. But is there a website, for example, that someone can go and look on if they are looking for a remote job. The other thing that I wanted to address around this is, well, there's a few things that people are being forced back to the office, sometimes when there's no need to be. But there's kind of a paradox where a lot of surveys say that people want to do more collaboration, that they want to have more of that physical social interaction with other people that they work with. But at the same time, they want to stay at home. So it's like we've got comfortable working from home. But we also are missing that social physical interaction with our colleagues as well. So I thought that's, that's quite interesting. And I'm not sure exactly what the solution to that is. Because if on the one hand, people are saying that this is what they want, but on the other hand, they're saying that they don't want to return to the office. Maybe the solution then is to have, you know, big get togethers, but on a less frequent basis. So you're bringing people together to collaborate, to socialise, to get to know each other as humans, as opposed to bringing them together into the office for the sole purposes of sitting there and doing their own work in a non collaborative sort of way. One of the things to bear in mind with remote working then is the legalities and the tax implications around it. So I know for Ireland, for example, you can't there's a specific number of days which I always forget the number of days but it's around it equates to around six months so if you're out of the country for around six months, then there are tax implications in relation to that. So that's something to be aware of. And I'm sure it's similar in other parts of the world as well. So it's not as if you can just take off and and leave and work from from absolutely anywhere. You do need to let your your organisation know that you're doing that. and be aware of what the implications are and see, can you work. So I'm kind of thinking, you know, there's a few different aspects to remote, what I'm doing is I'm going to one place in particular, and I'm staying there for a while, and I am doing it for less than the amount of time that I'm allowed to be outside of Ireland, but then other people that I know, are traveling around at the same time. So, you know, they're traveling around while they're working. And they they might be gone from Ireland as well. The other aspect of this idea of remote or hybrid working is productivity. And really what I mean, when I'm talking about remote or hybrid is probably this the way that we have been working for the past a while where you're not actually working in an office anymore. So non office based work, whether you're working from home, whether you're working from home, whether you're working from somewhere else, and that's the this idea of productivity. And, you know, I think we there's a few again, you know, similar with the first point, there's a few different aspects to this. So the first one is not everyone actually does their best to work at home. So while on the one hand, you may prefer being at home, because you have other obligations, that it's easier that you, you're avoiding a commute as well. But really consider whether or not you're doing your best work at home, or do you prefer to be in that collaborative environment, even if it means that you have to spend that additional time commuting as well. So that's definitely something to be aware of. The other aspect of it is, you know, I think at the start of the pandemic, there is this fear from from managers and leaders in particular, that the work wouldn't get done, or we wouldn't be as productive at home. But I think, you know, what research has shown and certainly anecdotal evidence has shown in my circles anyway, that it's, it's the opposite is true, that we have a tendency to burn out and that work has actually intensified, we're getting more done in in less time, we're being more flexible, we're kind of available all the time. So there's, there's a higher tendency to reach that stage of burnout, than then through any other type of work because of the flexible nature. So if you're working in that way, it's important to recognise what your boundaries are, if you are working flexible hours, then be really strict on what those flexible hours are, as opposed to saying, Well, I work flexibly, therefore, I'm working from seven in the morning till nine at night, for example. But that you you do make sure to take those breaks that people know that you're taking those breaks, and that you don't feel under any obligation to reply to calls or reply to texts or reply to emails, in those times when you're taking a break throughout the day. The final aspect of this that I want to address is this idea of pay. And I've seen some questions around how much people should be paid. And so if someone is working remotely, as in, if they're not office based, that they should be paid less money. Now that that goes against everything I believe in anyway, I believe people should be paid for the impact that they have in the organisation, and not necessarily where they are based. But I can see a point in in some instances, but for the most part, people should be paid for, for the impact on the outcomes that they can produce for the organisation. Whether those outcomes are happening in in an office based situation, or whether they're happening at home or working remotely or working. While someone is traveling, I can see from the organisation's perspective that if someone is saving money on their commute, and all sorts of other ways, but there are other ways that people pay. So for internet for lighting and heating. And you can consider also that the organisation is potentially saving money by not having someone in an office. So they're saving money on real estate and things like that, as well. And I can also see it from the other perspective. So that is to say that in different parts of the world, in different states in the US, for example, in built up cities and things like that there usually is a bump in pay for people who who work in those. And I remember when I worked in London, I was very aware of that, that there is some sort of additional pay, because you're working in London, you know, just to reflect the cost of living in those big organisations. I did hear of, and I can't recall exactly who it was, but I'm sure a quick Google search you you'll be able to find out I don't want to necessarily mention it on here. But that I think people were thinking that they could have a Silicon Valley salary, for example, we'll be working in the back of beyond in Idaho, and that that was not the case. And that those kinds of things would be addressed to reflect the cost of living in the, in this specific area. And again, I go back to this idea of it's about the skills that people have, and people should be paid for the impact that they're having on the organisation. And it probably just highlights the issue with having these built up areas where cost of living has been pushed up because big organisations go into those areas. And I'm not sure how sustainable that is in the long term and what does that look like for the future of work as well. As always I would love to get your thoughts, any insights that you have any practices that you might change. As a result of listening to today's podcast episode, I would absolutely love to hear them. You'll find all of my social through the website Feel free to connect with me on Instagram happier at, more through LinkedIn as well. I would absolutely love to connect with you and hear from you and hear any thoughts and do get involved in the conversation. My LinkedIn is Aoife O'Brien. That was another episode of the Happier at Work podcast. I'm so glad you tuned in today. If you enjoyed today's podcast, I would love to get your thoughts, head on over to social media to get involved in the conversation. If you enjoy the podcast, I would love if you could rate, review it or share it with a friend. If you want to know more about what I do or how I could help your business head on over to




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