Government allocates €5m to Connected Hubs Fund

Investment in hot desks, office spaces and meeting rooms to promote remote working

The Government is to make €5 million available to support the development of Ireland’s first national network of remote working hubs.

The Connected Hubs Fund will expand existing hub facilities, providing additional hot desks, office spaces and meeting rooms for remote working.

The funding will be used to install electric car charging points, upgrade disability access and improve IT facilities located within hubs or broadband connection points. It will also assist in making existing hubs more compliant with social distancing guidelines.

The Fund will support the key objectives of Our Rural Future – the Government’s ambitious new five year policy for rural Ireland.

The National Hub Network Working Group led by the Department of Rural and Community Development has identified over 400 remote working hubs across the country.

Funding will be available for both expansion and upgrade of existing facilities through works such as the installation of privacy booths, access control and security systems, the conversion of existing open plan space to modular offices, and provision of enhanced audio visual, network and conferencing facilities.

Work is underway to map and survey the services offered by these hubs. This data will support the development of online services to support hub managers, including a publicly facing booking engine.

Minister Humphreys said: “Over the past 12 months, so many of us have experienced the benefits of remote working – reduced commutes, more time spent with your family, increased footfall in towns, a lower carbon footprint.

“As we emerge from this Pandemic, the Government is determined to make remote working a permanent reality for thousands of people.

“That’s why Our Rural Future contains a series of commitments ranging from incentives for workers to the redevelopment of old buildings as digital hubs.

Minister for Rural & Community Development Heather Humphreys, said: “The Connected Hubs Fund will make our existing hubs bigger and more accessible and will result in a better quality experience for business people, workers and students.

“Crucially, this fund is another clear example of how this Government is embracing remote working as we exit this Pandemic.

“Hubs provide the perfect opportunity for people to embrace ‘blended working’ and by encouraging people to avail of a hot-desk or office space in their nearby hub, the local economy also benefits.

“It’s equally important however that we invest in our many existing hubs, public and private, and ensure they are attractive, fully equipped, modern office spaces for people to work from into the future.”