- The U.K.’s sixth annual WorkWise Week culminated with a National Work from Home Day on Friday, May 20, 2011 with approximately 5.8 million people telecommuting on their designated day. Not surprisingly, Canadian workers were even more vocal in their support for the Canadian campaign (91 per cent) upon hearing this news.
- Four in ten (43 per cent) of Canadian workers said their current employer encourages working from home.
- Telework success stories include Calgary, which just completed its 2nd annual WORKshift Week (April 18-22, 2011); Ottawa which recently announced City Hall would invest $20-million over four years to introduce a telework program for almost 2,000 of its workers and the province of Quebec, which has launched a new program that ‘certifies’ employers that meet standards for encouraging work-family balance – telework being one of those programs.
Workers, Employers and the Community all Benefit
The most commonly perceived personal benefit of working from home for Canadian workers is cost savings. Greater flexibility, which includes aspects such as choosing which hours to work, working on their own terms and reducing stress, was the second most popular benefit for workers. This was followed closely by the ease of caring for others (a pet, children, an ill or disabled family member or an elderly parent). Nearly nine in ten (88 per cent) of those who work from home at least once per week agree they are more productive. There are many fewer distractions when working from home.
“Mental health is an important part of our overall health and well-being,” says Peter Coleridge, National CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). “Poor work-life balance can negatively impact an individual’s mental health. A flexible work environment that recognizes the need for balance between the demands of work, family and personal life will have positive impacts on employee mental health. Having a national Work From Home Day can help spread that message to more workplaces in Canada.”
The argument for working from home extends beyond the worker with the top benefits for employers being greater access to qualified employees, increased employee productivity, improved image of the company as a flexible employer and increased employee retention and potentially even reduced operating costs for things such as rent and transportation.
Greater access for workers with disabilities/health issues, those nearing retirement, with family responsibilities and with accessibility challenges are ranked as top societal benefits, and these will become increasingly important as the labour market tightens. Environmental benefits due to less pollution also ranks highly.
“High gas prices, growing concerns for the environment and a desire for greater work-life balance, are coming together to create the perfect storm for a remote culture for Canadian workers,” said Bouchard. “Smart employers will have this on their radar. With a looming labour shortage it is becoming increasingly important for employers to set themselves apart to attract and retain top talent.”
When asked what the likelihood of switching jobs if given the option of working from home, nearly three of every four (73 per cent) Canadians said they would seriously consider it. And if presented with two job opportunities with all other things being equal, 88 per cent said they would chose the one offering the option to work from home.
Tips for Talking with the Boss:
With secure technology, trust and clear policies in place it’s never been easier for Canadian workers to work remotely. But four in ten (43 per cent) don’t know how to raise the topic with their employer. Here are some tips for getting the conversation started.
- 1. Have a game plan – Do your research and find a good time
to have a sit-down meeting with your supervisor. You want to ensure you have
their full attention.
2. Money talks – Studies show that there are many savings that can be realized by having staff work from home occasionally. Show her/him that this can have an impact on the company’s bottom line.
3. Know who you’re talking to – How you raise the issue is just as important as what you’re saying. As you would for any presentation, make your pitch tailored for the right person to make a compelling argument.
4. It’s business - Everyone has personal reasons for wanting to work from home (family, pets, etc), but remember your boss is running a business, so make it a business case, not personal.
To show support for a National Work From Home Day Canadians are encouraged to visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/workopolis where they can access sharable infographics with compelling stats such as if one million Canadians worked from home one day a year, five million KG of CO2 could be saved. That’s the equivalent of planting 10 million trees. There are also tools to convince your boss and coworkers that it’s time for a work from home day. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by following @workopolis and using the hashtag #WFHD.
About the Research
The Environics Research Group study results were collected through a custom, online survey between April 5-13th, 2011. This included a sample size of 1001 Canadian workers.
The Environics Research National Omnibus Survey was conducted between April 12-17th, 2011. This included a sample of 1000 Canadians 18 years and over. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.10%, 19 times out of 20.
Workopolis provides Canadian employers and candidates with unrivalled access to one another by combining unique employer branding tools with the largest pool of candidate resumes on the Internet. Through the reach and scope of www.workopolis.com, extended by exclusive partnerships and community sites including social networking and mobile applications, Workopolis allows employers to engage with qualified candidates, allowing both parties to best assess fit online.
Canadian owned and operated, Workopolis has grown to 200 staff members across Canada since 2000. Workopolis is in an equal partnership with Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. and Square Victoria Digital Properties Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Power Corporation of Canada.
Workopolis was chosen as the first organization to be given the Best Emerging Organization distinction as part of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures program and was a recipient of the 2010 50 Most Engaged Workplaces award.
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