January 24 2020 - Fewer than half (43%) of Canadian professionals said that their company provides the option to work off-site,
according to new research for global staffing firm Robert Half. 61 per cent took advantage
of the ability to work from home while another three per cent did their job from other locations, such as a café or shared office space.
The remainder pointed to the following factors deterring them from working outside the office:
- not having the right technology (47%
- being less productive due to distractions (31%)
A separate survey of senior managers found that 54 per cent said their
organization had expanded remote work opportunities for employees in the previous three years. Organizations employing 500 or more people were
more likely to offer remote working options than smaller businesses.
David King, senior district president of Robert Half commented:
"It's important for organizations to keep their finger on the pulse of what attracts job seekers, and the ability to work remotely is
clearly an offering many professionals look for. To entice top talent, employers should assess where perks like alternative work options can fit
within their organization in ways that allow workers the flexibility they want, without compromising business goals."
"It's up to employers to set their staff up for success - whether they're in the office or not. Managers need to equip workers with
up-to-date tools and resources, and schedule regular updates or in-person check-ins, to ensure the entire team remains productive and engaged, no
matter where they are."
The online surveys included 500 participant workers employed in office environments, and over 350 senior managers at
organizations with 20 or more employees in Canada. Find more tips on implementing in-demand perks and benefits on
the Robert Half blog.
Blurring the Boundaries of Work and Home
Employees with flexible schedules tend to experience greater blurring of boundaries between work and
other parts of their lives, especially family-related roles, according to research from the University of Toronto published in the Journal of
Family Issues in 2010. Sociology professor Scott Schieman and PhD student Marisa Young drew on data from a national survey of more than 1200
North American workers to measure the extent of schedule control and its impact on work-family processes.
Scott Schieman explained:
"Most people probably would identify schedule control as a good thing - an indicator of flexibility that helps them balance their
work and home lives. We wondered about the potential stress of schedule control for the work-family interface. What happens if schedule control
blurs the boundaries between these key social roles?"
Participants were asked: 'Who usually decides when you start and finish work each day at your main job? Is it someone else, or can
you decide within certain limits, or are you entirely free to decide when you start and finish work?'
The study found that those with more flexibility are also more likely to work at home, attempting simultaneous work - family
multitasking. Those reporting more blurring of work-family boundaries also tend to experience more conflict between roles and a consequent
increase in stress. Researchers point to substantial evidence linking work-family conflict to poorer physical and mental health outcomes.
The study assessed work-family conflict by responses to questions such as:
- ‘How often have you not had enough time for your family or other important people in your life because of your job?’
- ‘How often have you not had the energy to do things with your family or other important people in your life because of your job?’
- ‘How often has your job kept you from concentrating on important things in your family and personal life?’
However, the researchers also identified benefits to flexible working.
Scott Schieman said:
"People who had partial or full schedule control were able to engage in work-family multitasking activities with fewer negative consequences in terms of conflict between their work and family roles. Overall, our findings contribute to an ongoing—and complicated—debate about the costs and benefits of different forms of flexibility for workers.”
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