Public Affairs Ireland | Training and Development | Conferences

Leading and managing in the new world of work

At the annual PAI HR conference in February 2020, we focused on ‘building healthy inclusive workplaces’ and we looked forward to embracing the challenges and opportunities that 2020 would bring. No-one could have predicted that less than five weeks later, the COVID19 pandemic would create disruptive change in how we worked and where we worked. Remote working was implemented rapidly across sectors, and the pandemic continues to change the world of work for public servants, for example in the health and education sectors.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), 2020 has provided evidence that rapid adaption to remote working can work on a large scale, with very little impact on productivity. Building on data from their 2020 employer survey, they state that:

‘most employers expect hybrid ways of working to become commonplace post-pandemic’[1].

The CIPD survey data showed that 40% of employers expect more than half their workforce to work regularly from home (compared to 15% pre-pandemic) and 23% of employers said that employees working from home all the time would be the norm (compared to 8% before). From an employee and talent management perspective, remote flexible working can be a significant recruitment and retention tool and it can enhance diversity.

However, while remote working has provided huge benefits for employers and employees, it can also negatively impact people in many aspects of their working lives, including:

  • work-life balance
  • safety, health and welfare
  • mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • diversity and inclusion
  • managing and being managed remotely
  • social interaction and team support.


The annual PAI HR conference on 4 February 2020 will explore these many challenges, based on insights and best practice shared by a diverse range of speakers. I am really looking forward to chairing this event and to engaging with you through our online conference. This conference provides an opportunity and space for HR professionals and leaders to reflect on the changing world of work and to gain insights and learning into leading and managing people in the new world of work. We look forward to seeing you there.


Sile O’Donnell, FCIPD, IMI

PAI HR 2021 Conference Chair