Emmet Ryan is our guest on today’s edition of The Lock-In Podcast. He is the technology editor at The Business Post.
Click on the player below to play the podcast audio (download: 28:27; 16MB; MP3), or scroll down to watch the video.
Emmet Ryan is “busy and bored”. I know the feeling. Lockdown is peculiar that way. There’s an overhead cost. It’s harder to do some things remotely: somehow, staring into a screen takes on an intensity that you don’t have in the office. And when you are finished work, what then? Is it time for another walk?
As we mark a year of pandemic, it’s interesting to recall how we hoped it might all be over in a few weeks. Emmet launched a pandemic podcast celebrating the diversity of Irish Craft Beers. Drinking Irish recorded over 100 episodes before calling it a day.
“I figured, I’ll do a different Irish beer a night … The classic problem was that not everybody was selling online, even through a distributor, never mind their own outlet … But I’m lucky where I live. I live in Rathmines, so I’m near some extraordinary good off-licenses
“For me, I was looking at it as a bit of whimsy because, when we’re in some pretty dark times … it’s very important to have stuff that is light in the truest sense of light relief; that’s got nothing to do with the chaos around us.”
Emmet covers sport as well, and basketball in particular, but he’s found it hard to enjoy sport in the same way, under lockdown conditions.
“The more I care about a sport, the harder it is to watch during lockdown, and it’s because of how much I’m used to the crowd. I’ve found sports I’d hardly have watched – I wouldn’t be a huge golf fan … they’ve been very easy to watch. But even like, say, the darts at Christmas: I couldn’t really watch that this year because that entire thing is so built around the crowd that, when you remove that – and even with the fake crowd noise and all of that … it just isn’t the same. And I’d notice, even from going to Irish League games in basketball, where you mightn’t have huge crowds at some games, any crowd, of any kind, is so much more than zero.”
Among the business and work issues raised by the pandemic, he thinks the reappraisal of remote working is fundamental.
“If you’re a company competing for any level of talent in any sector, if you’re not offering a ‘3-and-2’ of some kind, where one of those is remote and the other is in the office, you’re going to be in trouble. Fully remote is also an option, but I think for a lot of people, and even just talking to my friends, even myself to some degree … it’s about genuine flexibility in where you do your work and that’s what I’m hoping we’ll see a lot more of when we come back.
“I wrote about remote … about a year ago. I think it was just about a week before Leo sent us all home. I said, here’s the only question you’ve got ask yourself if you’re a boss: do you trust your people? Because, if you don’t trust your people to be doing their job when you’re not looking at them, your problems are way deeper than whether the person is able to sit at their desk or not.”