Skip to main content

Following on from the recent article in the Irish Times ‘Employers urged to use remote working hubs as desks lie vacant,’ I caught up with RDI hub member Damien McCarthy of HR Buddy about the HR considerations regarding working from a co-innovation space.

Damien McCarthy is the CEO and co-founder of HR Buddy, a HR consultancy for SME Businesses, managing staff contracts & handbooks, outsourced HR & employment law guidance & advice. Over the past couple of months he been featured in the Irish Independent, Irish Times, The Tonight Show, and Bobby Kerr’s Down to Business. We caught up over a coffee to talk ‘HR & hubs!’

HR Buddy CEO and Co-founder Damien McCarthy

I told Damien I had just listened to his panel discussion on Bobby Kerr’s show on Newstalk, how the workplace landscape has changed so dramatically since the advent of Covid and how it’s a brave new world for employers and employee alike. He nodded in agreement.

‘From a HR point of view, there are many demographics of workers whose employer should consider the use, or at least the hybrid use of hubs, many teams are struggling with connectivity and the social aspects of remote working life, the hub is a good middle ground option for employers.

Some companies will switch to remote or may have switched already. They may find that for a minority of their team, a hub as opposed to home working will suit better. Some people like a workplace, they like to meet people daily, they like the water cooler moments, they want to belong to a community. This is also a very serious consideration from a wellbeing point of view for workplaces in the future.

When people think of a shared working space, they naturally think of the social and community aspect, but another important aspect is retaining and attracting the right and best talent, again from a geographic perspective, the hubs are again a great option for employers.’

I asked if there were any other cohorts that spring to mind as a good fit for a hub?

‘Definitely – for workers working from a shared accommodation space, again a hub space would be a much better option as it is fully ergonomically kitted out from the perspective of ensuring health & safety obligation etc. Is a young worker working from a poky bedroom 5 days a week going to be happy? Not for long, any work environment, remote or otherwise must have a stimulating environment.

When I referenced Vivienne Clarke’s article in the Irish Times, stating that many desks in hubs were going unused, and asking how he thought we could get hubs ‘front of mind’ for potential candidates, he replied:

‘Well, the Connected Hubs voucher scheme is very welcome and it will help raise awareness of the working spaces available. (The Connected Hubs voucher scheme offers all remote workers a number of free passes to work from a hub of their choice between now and the end of August. Full details on

‘Time and patience is required in allowing workers and employers realise the opportunity that having these state-of-the-art facilities available to them and what it presents. The voucher scheme will help with this and in time remote working hubs will prove their worth, we just need to get the word out there and people need to experience it.’

(In conversation with Kerry Mac Connell July 6th 2022)

The Irish Times article by Vivienne Clarke can be found here