Bid to crown Laois Irish Co-working Capital
As workers and employers adjust to the changes imposed by Covid 19, a group of Co. Laois remote working hubs have joined together in a bid to position the midlands county as the co-working centre of Ireland.
The Laois Hub Collective, made up of six remote working centres has been launched to highlight the facilities available to accommodate a wide range of employers, workers and start-ups.
Paddy Buggy, spokesperson for the Laois Hubs Collective and Manager of the Mountmellick-based Webmill Hub says “Remote working is the new face of working in Ireland. Current research shows that co working hubs are more relevant and suitable in the current employment market than ever before. This pandemic has shown that working can be done differently with all the associated productivity, efficiency and output”.
“Our six co working hubs spread throughout Co. Laois are state of the art facilities with all the amenities that people expect and are used to and truly offer people real choice, flexibility and opportunities. The benefits are truly enormous. People can rent space on an hourly, daily, weekly and monthly basis. The hubs are spacious, airy and bright and have all the necessary social distancing requirements for a safe working environment. They are incredibly cost effective and offer huge choice for workers.
“Each hub is unique and each has its own special amenities and facilities be it a gym or a creche, an on site restaurant and coffee docks, tennis courts and showers. They have wide appeal both for individual workers, companies or start ups. The start-up costs associated in getting a new business up and running are negated by shared spaces and it means that people who may have been restrained by financial considerations can go ahead and open up a business. The co working spaces lend themselves to a spirit of great vibrancy and dynamism; people are independent yet supported if needs be, they are connected yet self-contained, there is a great symbiosis that is organic. There are networking opportunities for business and people don’t have the isolation they may feel working from home. There is always someone available to help if needs be, but they are totally independent as well. The hubs give great structure to their working lives”.
“The benefits of working and living locally are well chronicled. When workers face long commutes, they can’t be as productive, it takes a huge toll on them, their families and their overall quality of life and there is a growing recognition of this amongst employers and this is being copper fastened by the pandemic. A happy worker is a hard worker. Employers find it easier to recruit and retain employees when the working environment is good”.
“Laois has so much to offer from so many points of interest; geographically, socially and financially. Before Covid 19 there were 13,000 people leaving Laois every day to work in other counties, and we want to harness those. We have a very young population who want flexibility in their working arrangements and with our great co working spaces we can offer them choice. We can offer huge spaces for companies who need an excellent location coupled with state-of-the-art amenities. A variety of places to do business will have the knock-on effect of encouraging families to move to Laois and that would be beneficial for the entire business community as people spend in the areas they live.”
“Communities benefit, there is a new life and vibrancy in areas with co working hubs with local shops and other businesses getting a bounce, it feeds into rural regeneration. Another critical point is the huge positive impact on the environment; less commuting means less damaging carbon emissions ;it’s critically important and is a priority for businesses and workers alike”.
“Laois is ideally placed to take advantage of our ‘new’ changed working environment. It is literally in the centre of Ireland with excellent infrastructure and connectivity and I firmly believe it is ideally positioned for huge growth over the next few years”.
“There is a great geographical spread in our six hubs meaning they are accessible from neighbouring counties as Laois borders on four other counties, Kildare, Carlow, Offaly and Tipperary .” “Laois is also serviced by three railway stations, Portarlington in the North of the county, Portlaoise in the centre, and Ballybrophy in the south of the county, five mins from Rathdowney”
Bernie Moloney of the brand new Erkina Digital Hub in Rathdowney says “There is no doubt, but that working life has changed, and this is cemented by the pandemic. I can’t really see people prepared to make arduous and long commutes anymore. There is simply no reason to do so; we have everything in our Laois co working hubs. People love the flexibility that working from hubs gives them. More and more employers are realising that workers give of their best when they are facilitated, working harder but better”.
“In addition to business and remote working, a very interesting development in our hubs is their affiliation to some third Level institutions, namely Athlone Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology. Lectures can be delivered on line up to Masters Level and Lecturers can also use the hubs to deliver lectures. With access to hubs 24/7, we really see this as a massive growth area, so hubs will encompass remote working, start ups and education”
One such worker who maximises his working day while minimising his commute is Damien O’ Connor of Ellickson Engineering who has been working out of the Portarlington Enterprise Centre Innovation Hub for the past 18 months, running the Sales operation of the company.
“Myself and my colleague work from here and it is fantastic. We have everything we need to work effectively and smartly. Our Head Office is based in Waterford and as we live in Portarlington it just makes more sense from a business perspective to work from here. We are not loosing hours in traffic and are instead using that time to up our productivity. It is working so well that we are planning to expand and take on two more people. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough; it has had an incredible positive effect on our working and personal lives too. Co working hubs are the way forward”.
Gary Davies has been running his Coffee Roastery business, The Good Bean Company from Bloom HQ in Mountrath for the past year. He produces ethically sourced coffee, including a women’s only blend, with the beans being picked by women, roasted by his wife, and named after his daughter Arawyn. He is also planning to conduct some workshops on how coffee is roasted from start to finish.
“There is a wonderful team here, I love coming here to operate my business. The atmosphere is great, the facilities are fantastic and I would recommend it to any business or sole trader. As well as the all important business facilities I find I have made so many new friends and connections in Mountrath which is a very happy consequence. I live four minutes from here and it is a joy coming to work”.
Bernie Everard CEO Laois Chamber of Commerce
“Laois has really led the way in championing co working hubs. There has been huge vision and insight shown by the various enterprises and individuals who have created these spaces which offer endless possibilities and opportunities for people. There is such energy and entrepreneurial spirit in Laois, and this is being harnessed by the presence of the co working hubs”.
“The establishment of the Laois Hubs Collective couldn’t be more timely ; there is a recognition now that the traditional version and model of work has changed , that location is often secondary to performance and productivity ,and both employers and workers are seeing work through a new prism; one that offers more flexibility and opportunity and they are eager to adapt. I firmly believe that many businesses will now consider hybrid -remote working solutions for their employees. The benefits of co working hubs are enormous, and Laois is ideally positioned to attract more and more remote workers who can benefit from the excellent services and supports provided as well as enjoying a better working life and improved quality of life”.
“Positioning Laois as the centre of Ireland for business has been our main driving ambition at Chamber and these six Laois hubs feed directly into that vision, providing a real alternative for business”.
“We are so excited about this and predict a very bright future for the Laois Hubs Collective and their users”.