'You can get more of everything else, but you can't get more time' - Hubflow's Gary McCausland on flexible working's future

  • Gary McCausland is a businessman, property developer and more recently, the co-founder of Belfast’s newest flexible working space provider, Hubflow.

    He believes the future of work was edging towards a hybrid model even before the impact of Covid-19 hit.

    Admitting that the pandemic did accelerate this occurrence, he said “we're going to have to come up with solutions that help people have a faster flexible sort of work experience.

    “People will want to have more control of their lives and more control of their time, because ultimately – time is the most valuable resource in the world.”

    One of Gary’s own main drivers for beginning his own business, was to gain back management of his own time. Working a corporate job in London, he spent “every hour God sent”, getting up at 6am to be in an office for 7.30am, then not leaving again for another 12 or 13 hours.

    “That’s why I started my own company,” he told Sync NI. “Forget about making more money or all of that stuff. The key was to free my time up.”

    The world is a smaller place now

    Another factor for furthering a different approach to the traditional 9-5 lifestyle, is the fact that the world is now just “one big global village”, as Gary phrases it.

    Especially in Northern Ireland, so many technology FDIs have set up here in recent years, meaning employees have to work around various time zones.

    “Why should they sit in the office when their marketplace doesn’t open until one or two o’clock in the afternoon (in UK time),” Gary continued.

    “They might want to get in and do some prep work, obviously it goes without saying they’ll then have to work later, but they can do that from a hybrid office solution that we offer.

    “Offices are expensive. Why would companies waste spending all that money to give somebody a permanent desk, that they're not going to use all the time?”

    RELATED: Hubflow to create 12 new Belfast jobs as ‘hybrid working’ becomes new normal

    Hubflow currently hosts some staff of Silicon Valley-based businesses, who pop in and out during different periods of various days, and they also have a few workers, whose employers have moved to full-time remote working because of the pandemic.

    “There are companies that made a decision, that all their employees should work from home, but employees don't want that. They want to get into an environment where there can mix and talk to people,” Gary explained.

    Improved employee mental health 

    A presentation design agency called Buffalo 7 recently surveyed 2066 remote workers to find out the impact online meetings through Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts have had on them throughout the last year.

    73% admitted to having suffered from Zoom Anxiety over the last 12 months, with 67% saying not being able to read a caller’s body language caused anxiety and 83% said having tech/audio problems and not knowing how to fix them was their biggest stress trigger.

    Of course, these virtual tools have been vital to keep workers connected throughout the coronavirus crisis. But, as we edge further out of lockdown, Gary believes more human contact will help with people’s overall mental health and wellbeing.

    “It's not healthy to be sitting at home all day on a computer. You need to be liaising with colleagues, chatting about what happened at the weekend, and just general human behaviour that we need to sort of embark on, just to have a sort of healthy mental life.

    “You cannot be cooped up in a room all the time. That's why we came up with one of our packages, Hubflow Lite. It offers people working from home a desk for two days per week, with full benefits and business support, for £75 per month. 

    “We just recently signed up this lady who started her own company. She said to me the main reason she took out Hubflow Lite was to get out of her pyjamas two days a week. She was just hanging around on Zoom calls and she said she needed something to motivate her.

    “Now she's actually stepped up to go five days a week, because she enjoys it so much, but the point is, it is not healthy to be sitting at home all the time.

    “And these companies that have sort of, in a way, forced their employees to do that - we're actually filling that gap.”

    'Growing a community'

    With two south Belfast facilities already established on the Dublin Road and Adelaide Street, Hubflow wants to attract more fintech firms into these flexible working spaces, which is around the new Belfast transport hub.

    There are strict social distancing guidelines still in place during the ongoing pandemic, and Gary said desks are well spaced out and cleaned every day, with sanitising stations throughout the offices.

    RELATED: Looking to the long-term future of work – flexible working is not just working from home

    “We’re also going to be opening Hubflows in London and Dublin over the coming months, and a third in Belfast as well,” he concluded.

    “The bottom line is – we’re not about selling desks, we're about creating a community and a membership, and ultimately helping people be successful. We exist to help entrepreneurs, freelancers, SMEs and FinTech companies be successful.

    “That is our goal - to help them grow, help them be successful and be part of our community, and that's what we're about.

    For more information on Hubflow, or to book a free ‘no obligation’ tour of its facilities, with complimentary barista coffee from Koffee Hub, interested parties can go to, call 033 0088 7358 or send an email enquiry to

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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