An unexpected lesson about Remote work from Storm Ophelia

Originally Published on LinkedIn

The worst storm in 60 years hit Ireland on Monday with the South and West coast of the country feeling the brunt of rising water levels and violent winds. Falling trees and flying debris made travelling very dangerous, although this didn't stop some people risking their lives to have a dip out in Salthill - insert eye-roll emoji here.

Colleges and schools closed their doors in the interest of safety with a lot of businesses doing the same across the country. However the majority of our 150 strong Irish team showed up to work, from the safety of their own homes.

On October 16th, between power outages (electricity and broadband) and taking time for emergency childcare our Irish Guruland team lost just over 3% (yes, three per cent) of total work hours. For a team our size that is pretty remarkable.

How did we do it? Two main factors - the robustness of the remote working model and a bit of luck.


We were very lucky with widespread outages across the country a lot of staff weren't affected, or had minor outages. Major credit has to go to the ESB and emergency services for how they handled yesterday. It could have been a lot worse across the country but for the resourcefulness and diligence of those service. A big thank you to those who helped and are continuing to help get everything back to normal.


The remote model is built to allow people to adapt in different situations to work from the best place for themselves. A prime example of this was yesterday, with lots of our team relocating in the morning before the storm hit to work at friends or family (a lot working from co-workers homes - but they fall under both these categories #Shopifam).

This was an extreme example, but in general we can see this for small scale outages and events. Being 24/7, 365 days a year a lot of our team work over the holiday season. The remote model allows for them to spend this time at home and maximise time with family and friends.

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday looming - our support team is ramping up for our busiest time of year. Our remote working initiative gives us the best chance to be available to help our merchants be successful.


Ireland offers a unique opportunity for remote teams as a lot of the fears of going remote (isolation, disconnectedness etc.) are easily quashed with the opportunity to have regular co-working days for those who want them. Venues like Bank of Ireland Workbenches in Galway, Limerick and Dublin, Republic of Work in Cork as well as Hotels and Cafes (shoutout Poppyseed Cafe in Eyre Square) across the country with strong enough wifi capability all offer teams a cost-effective and reliable space to work. We usually couple this with team dinners or get togethers to maximise this time together.

Eir has said "unprecedented and widespread levels of damage" caused to its infrastructure by the storm, and it is essential we not only get things back up and running, but look at how we can improve on the services that we currently have - become Antifragile.

Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

If we can improve on our services, and offer the potential to work remotely from anywhere in the country who knows the positive knock on effects that could have on our Emerald Isle.


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