“Work is something people do, not a place they go”

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More and more companies are offering flexible work and telework options to their workers, with advantages for recruitment, retention and the bottom line.

According to a survey from Citrix Canadians benefit from mobile work styles in a myriad of ways including better work-life balance, increased flexibility and productivity, and a reduction in commuting time.

“Companies want to be nimble and grow they’re going to have to embrace a work style that’s more mobile than before,” said Michael Murphy, vice-president and country manager of Citrix Canada. “Corporations that embrace a mobile workstyle to me are companies that are mature and progressive in their thinking.”  

Those that embrace the idea of working anywhere get a “culture bonus” as well, Murphy added. Employees develop a better opinion of the workplace and management when the corporation shows they are appreciated and trusted, and are then less likely to leave the company.

“Flexibility goes both ways,” Murphy added. “More employees are happy to put in extra hours at home, checking emails and voice messages, but they expect equal accommodation from workplace.”

As long as employees are getting their work done to a satisfactory level it shouldn’t matter to an employer how, where or when they’re doing it, he said.

“What different work styles offers employees and what employees want is freedom, which means choice,” Murphy said. “It’s about work/life balance, which means less commute, better productivity and improved health and wellness.”

Trust is key – managers who are focused on seeing their employees work, or who don’t trust certain people to be productive are often resistant to the idea of telework.

“Some organizations trust people to work from home, and know that they’re working, while other organizations will have a policy and culture where if leaders can’t physically see someone they think they’re not working,” Toronto HR consultant Timothy Holden said. “If you’ve got issues around trust of that person, they’ve perhaps had disciplinary issues in the past for misdemeanours and they know you’re watching them quite closely then they’re the people you’re less likely to trust.”

Home working can also help answer the issue of presenteeism, where sick workers come into the office despite their illness, are less productive and spread their illness to others. By offering work from home options you can reduce the stigma of sick leave, and increase the productivity of ill employees, without suffering the consequences of a cold or flu circulating around the office.

 

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