Key learnings at Grow Remote Dublin’s “The Hard Part about Remote”

Event re-cap and key learnings at Grow Remote Dublin’s “The Hard Part about Remote” panel discussion event on January 23rd, 2020.

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Grow Remote

On January 23rd, Remoter attended and spoke at a local remote work networking and panel discussion hosted by Grow Remote, a volunteer-based, community organization established in Ireland in 2018. It has since grown tremendously, with 60+ chapters spread out across several countries. More are popping up in the US, Brazil, South Africa, and Australia. Recently, the organization received €500,000 to fund both the recruitment of additional staff and their expansion

The Grow Remote Dublin chapter, led by Meeting Room CEO Jonny Cosgrove, held a panel discussion at Microsoft Ireland’s Dreamspace. They’ve got a huge, beautiful building in a business park, just south of Dublin’s city center. 

The panel

The panel, moderated by CEO of Boundless Dee Coakley, consisted of Suzanne Hassett, Global Head of Professional Services at ScrapingHub, Shirley Finnerty, Business Group Lead at Microsoft Ireland, Kevin Daly, Principal Officer at the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation, and Remoter’s own Ambassador, Josephine Tse. 

The night started with a very open question: “What is ‘remote’ from your perspective?” 

From the ways of working and setting up a remote workspace, to the realized benefits - like the expansion of cultural perspectives and networks - everyone’s different background led to a wide array of answers during the discussion. This was followed by an audience Q&A session at the end.

Grow Remote Dublin Re-Cap Header

Here are 3 interesting takeaways from the event. 

The hiring scene - considerations when hiring globally

There was definitely buzz surrounding the topic of remote hiring and recruitment! In fact, there was a really dynamic dialogue going back and forth between the moderator, panelists, and audience members. After the event, we spoke with Dee Coakley and asked her what she thought were the most practical points brought up during the discussion.

  1. Unless you're a sizable company with the ability to support candidates with no previous remote working experience, look for candidates that have worked remotely before.
  2. Test for resilience - during the hiring process, openly discuss the challenges of isolation.
  3. Test for the right kind of communication skills - can they effectively communicate asynchronously? Do they have strong, clear writing skills?
  4. Ensure that candidates have the right setup to work effectively. Either fund a desk at a co-working space, or ask about their work-from-home setup to ensure they have what they need and are not working in an environment with lots of distractions/challenges.

Ireland's continual push towards remote

Kevin Daly brought a printed copy of the Future of Jobs 2019 survey that DBEI completed near the end of the year. “There were 3,500 responses in 4 days for the remote work survey,” he commented, “a level of engagement on surveys I’ve never seen before.”

While the findings aren’t fully representative of the entire labor force, it provided the DBEI with useful insight:

  1. There is demand for remote work among non-remote employees – of those who didn’t work remotely, over 80% wanted to.

  2. ‘Flexibility’ and ‘reduced commutes’ are the key motivators for remote workers and non-remote workers alike. 43.5% of respondents identified greater flexibility as their primary motivator for working remotely; a reduced commute was the next popular response with 40.5%

  3. When respondents were asked the biggest challenge of working remotely, ‘switching off / avoiding overwork’ was the most common challenge of working remotely, 46.7% of total responses claimed.

  4. A considerable portion of those working remotely were in organizations that did not have an HR policy on remote work. Those whose organizations did have a HR policy on remote work were unclear on what the policy covered (‘I don’t know’ was one of the top responses to this question).

Source: Future of Jobs 2019

Rising topics around remote work

As Remoter continues to investigate what people who are curious about remote work search for, we’ve learned that a lot of it revolves around:

  1. How to scale your remote teams from the tens into the hundreds 
  2. Conforming with international labour laws, and
  3. How to set salaries for roles across countries and continents.

There were also a lot of questions about the process and experience of dealing with clients remotely. 

Suzanne from ScrapingHub said that they do meet some of their clients in person, depending on the size of the business. She also noted that most clients were happy managing working relationships remotely, as it saves on travel and overheads.

Other ways to get involved

Apart from these physical events, the Grow Remote Dublin chapter hosts conference calls on Google Hangouts for anyone who wants to join in on the virtual networking experience! You can check out their running list of events here.

As we continue to grow Remoter, we’ll also be taking the insights learned from events and publishing more content addressing the main questions being asked. What else would you like to see? Go ahead and comment below!

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