Flexible Working Arrangements highlighted in Budget 2017
On March 22nd, the Canadian Government released their 2017 Budget, full of commitments and policies. The first chapter included an exciting development – a proposed amendment to the Canada Labour Code that gives all federally regulated employees the right to request more flexible working arrangements, such as the ability to work from home to better balance work and family demands.
Enabling employees to have more options in how and where they work is a logical step for employers. Flexible working arrangements lead to happier, more productive employees and higher levels of employee retention. This is even more important when looking at workforce demographic shifts. Millennials, those born between 1980 and the early 2000s, are an increasing proportion of the workforce yet according to a recent survey, 61% plan to leave their current role within the next 5 years and 75% would like to start to work from home, or to do so more frequently.
What does this mean?
On a practical level, once this amendment confirmed, federally regulated employers will have to provide a way for their employees to work from home or justify why it would not be feasible. It is unlikely that acceptable reasons would include the idea that working from home is less productive than working at the office. Employers will need to adapt and adopt tools to enable this new workplace reality.
The rapid pace of innovation for collaboration solutions and unified communications in recent years has been a key factor in enabling workplace transformation. Organizations are now able to deliver the tools, technologies and, vitally important, the workplace culture needed for a mobile workforce.
Cisco has several collaboration solution options to fit any business’ size and needs, including Cisco Spark, an all-in-one cloud-based app which includes messaging and audio and video calling, to the Business Edition 6000, an on-premises, packaged solution. Cisco’s solutions enable employees to connect with each other, with customers, and with partners, from any where and on any device.
There is no denying that if an employee only has their laptop, email, and a cell phone to work from home they won’t be as productive as they are in the office. However, employers should look at this federal mandate as an opportunity to modernize their workplace – with benefits to employees, customers, and the bottom line.