Connecting Business – Growing Opportunities

The Future of Work will Require Flexibility from Employers

Causeway’s newest member is Nial Borthistle, Business Development Manager with Glandore, Ireland’s longest serving and leading provider of flexible serviced offices and coworking spaces.

With offices in Belfast, Cork and Dublin, Glandore is a family owned business which has a total of more than 3,500 desks between nine office locations and works with some of Ireland’s largest and most successful organisations, including Facebook, Twitter, State Street, Asana, Reddit, Newsweek, Evolv London, Imperva and many more.

Niall is originally from Wexford, but today lives and works in Belfast and has over 15 years’ business development experience selling products and services across various industries and regions across Europe.

In his role with Glandore, Nial helps companies to grow by offering flexible and collaborative workplace solutions and facilitating connections between their Glandore Network and the wider business community.

In the blog below, Nial examines the new need for flexibility and a blended approach in future way in which we work.

As we now start to see the gradual re-opening of operational businesses across Ireland and Scotland we are also starting to see companies who are based in offices gradually phase employees back into work. 

These companies are having to strike a balance between bringing staff back to meet commercial needs with providing a duty of care and facilitating those staff who don’t have childcare provision or who live with vulnerable family or friends. 

So far only a fraction of office workers are back but with schools opening on a phased basis in September it’s likely we will see more companies bringing more of their staff back too, while allowing others to keep working from home where possible. However, there are also many firms that will not be returning to the office anytime soon, for example in the ICT sector where remote working is well established. At Glandore, we are only seeing 20% of our members’ staff back in the office in both Belfast and Dublin. 

At the start of the Covid19 outbreak, companies were trying to deal with a disaster scenario, lots of volatility and the need for immediate action, accessing support options for staff and clients, creating risk registers, pivoting service offerings. Now they are assessing the damage and taking the opportunity through necessity to look at how they go forward. Unfortunately, as a result we are now seeing job losses and some employers will inevitably take the opportunity to reduce both their headcount and their property portfolio. 

Our view is that the initial panic has faded, but confidence has not fully returned. Cash flow will improve, but earnings will lag, and no one will be quite certain when the recovery phase will begin. Further, any economic improvements won’t be consistent. Department heads will need to decide what to do with what’s left of their budgets and how to sustain projects given the resulting limitations.

Just as no one could have predicted the initial phase, the recovery will also be unpredictable. It must be hoped that purchases that were put off due to the coronavirus will pick up, and customer demand will increase. That organizations will see a jump in demand and will encourage departments to invest more. But any new investments will have limited budgets and spending. 

Before Covid-19, we had seen a rise in co-working and working from home in certain industries like ICT. With the overall productivity and output of employees across the island of Ireland improving across the board over the past number of months a lot of companies are seriously reconsidering the amount of capital that is being put into rent on an annual basis for larger properties with their brand name on the front door. Remote working works, but companies also need to be able to create a culture for employees to buy in to and the importance of the office environment in that process cannot be overlooked. So how do they do that without eating into their profits due to high rents? 

The answer lies in deciding what the best office environment looks like for their staff. A blended approach of working from home and being in the office could become the norm, so employers must assess if they need their current capacity or need to downsize. Flexibility will be key and so companies will require a property solution that meets those needs. Committing to longer term agreements will be very risky given market volatility. 

Ultimately employers will need their company to have a base, an HQ, a home from which to create a culture that those working remotely can tap in to. So, employers will need enough space for those that want a desk in an office to have one, but flexible space for those who don’t need it all the time. They can perhaps invest a small amount to help their staff member get set up at home. 

But the lesson of lockdown is that, in future, employees will want to have options. Some may never want to commute again. Some will have greater childcare issues for months or even years. The future of work is in being flexible. 

If you are currently considering the island of Ireland as a potential market, Glandore would be happy to provide you with a soft landing and avail of their strong business network made up of members, alumni and their professional services network.

To connect and chat with Nial, email

Find out more about our growing Causeway network and Join Us Today! 


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