Remote working should not be treated as a privilege going forward, according to Sinn Féin.
The party's spokesperson on workers' rights, Louise O'Reilly, was speaking after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar pledged a 'balanced approach' when the Government introduces new legislation to give workers a right to request remote working.
Mr Varadkar insisted there is now a "real opportunity" to make remote and blended working a "much bigger part" of normal working life.
The Government has published a report on the public consultation process held ahead of the new legislation being introduced.
Some 175 submissions - mainly from individual workers - were received.
Ms O'Reilly told The Hard Shoulder the remote working system is already here.
"It's not going to suit every workplace or every work situation. But I think we need to work and focus on where it can be done.
"We have to start from the premise that this is going to be granted, we'll figure out how to do it - rather than it is a privilege that's going to be withheld, as it had been in the past.
"I can tell you this as a former union official: we were all the time looking for remote working, teleworking, e-working for people who would have been perfectly capable of working at home.
"It was kind of granted as a sort of a grace and favour privilege thing.
"That has to stop - workers need to have the right to have their application considered, and starting from the point of view that's it's accepted unless there's a reason not to."
She says the focus should be shifting to working conditions in remote locations.
"We need to move on and say 'If your remote hub - or indeed your own home - is going to become your place of work, then the focus needs to be on ensuring that you have the equipment you need, that you can do the job that your employer needs you to do and that you are covered by all of the relevant health safety and welfare at work legislation.
"I think there is a job of work that needs to be done, but if we learn the lesson of the pandemic - which is the same employers that told me 10 years ago it can't be done, it'll never happen - those very same employers overnight had to make it work.
"And it worked in an awful lot of cases, and we need to learn from that and be proactively supporting people to do it".
Asked about what happens if there's a disagreement between employers and employees, she says this is something that can be worked on.
"We can work with the Tánaiste to ensure that we have the objective criteria on which every application is going to be considered.
"And thereafter there are dispute resolution mechanisms - but I think we're kind of putting the cart before the horse if we're talking about 'let's focus on when it won't work'.
"It's already working, there's hundreds of thousands of workers who are working productively from home.
"So we need to take that and run with it".