Pros and cons of allowing employees to work from home
A recent survey has highlighted that one third of full time Canadian employees would sacrifice salary, vacation or benefits in exchange for the opportunity to work remotely.
The Rogers Connected Workplace report also shows that over half of Canadians - including both Baby Boomers and Generation Y employees - think it's important to work with the latest technology and want to be given the freedom to do so from anywhere. However many feel they don't have access to resources or workplace policies to make this a reality.
“It is clear that by making the shift to a more connected workplace, small and large businesses have an opportunity to influence productivity and drive innovation,” said Steve Van Binsbergen, Vice President, Business Segment, Rogers Communications. “Businesses that enable employees to work seamlessly across devices and environments stand ready to improve employee morale and deliver better customer experiences.”
Key findings from the research indicate that Canadian employers may be wise to re-evaluate the way in which they manage people. With the influx of technology and thus the ability to work remotely, employees are more and more inclined to get out of the office and work from locations where they feel most productive.
Canadians willing to sacrifice salary and vacation days to work from anywhere
One third of Canadians (33 percent) say they would sacrifice something (including salary, vacation days and employee benefits) to work remotely. Furthermore, more than half (a staggering 59 percent) agree that in the future, flexible work hours and the ability to work from anywhere will be top priorities in the choice of employer.
Canadians want access to the latest tech but don't want to lose face-to-face interactions
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in our lives, and as such employees find it frustrating when the systems and devices they are using at work do not meet modern standards. The report highlights this further when it notes that job satisfaction could increase for almost half (47 percent) of Canadians if employers provided the latest technology tools and services.
What’s more, Baby boomers are just as likely as their Gen Y counterparts to attribute access to the latest technology as being important (70 percent and 66 percent, respectively). While many employees wanted the ability to work remotely, almost eight in 10 (76 percent) did concede that collaborative workplaces make them more productive.
Read related articles in Business Review Canada
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- How to create a stress free work place
Canadians willing to erase personal and professional lines ("Bring Your Own Device")
A quarter of Canadian smartphone users (23 percent) who carry two smartphones do so because their employer doesn't allow them to connect their device to the company server, and yet over half of Canadians (54 percent) who use their smartphone for personal and professional purposes are comfortable with employers enforcing security policies.
Laptops and tablets are future devices of choice for Canadian workers over desktop PCs
The fourth major trend recognized in the report was that Canadians spend the majority of their workday using traditional workplace devices such as desktop computers (45 percent) and landlines (10 percent). However, in the future, Canadians would prefer to use laptops (40 percent), tablets (15 percent), and smartphones (10 percent) as primary work devices.
“Evolving technologies are redefining the Canadian workplace,” said Binsbergen.
How to manage remote employees
For employers, news that employees want to work remotely can be daunting. Fear that people will work less and take advantage of the privilege is rife, however technology makes it a lot harder for employees to shirk their responsibilities.
As an employer, you can now see when people are logged into their email accounts, you can have them updating spreadsheets in the cloud that you can access in real-time and at the touch of a button you can communicate with them face to face via tools like Skype and FaceTime.
Furthermore, we live in a world now where everyone is used to being connected 24/7 and thus the idea of working outside of an office environment is appealing rather than alien. Some studies even indicate that employees are more productive working from home.
Points to consider before making a decision about remote working:
Marissa Mayers, CEO at Yahoo, controversially banned working from home. In a memo to the company she wrote: “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo, and that starts with physically being together.”
Employees that work in an office are more likely to receive a promotion compared to their counterparts working remotely and therefore employers could potentially be wasting the talent of potentially great managers.
Telecommuting cuts down on traffic during peak hours, reduces companies’ real estate costs and improves employee morale, leading to less turnover.
Research conducted at Stanford indicated that employees that work from home are sick less often, happier in their role and less likely to look for new employment opportunities.
Remote working can cause disconnect among employees.
- Some people would say that in many jobs there is no clear distinction between home and office. Thanks to cellphones and wireless connections, it is possible to be tethered to the office and expected to respond to work calls and e-mail messages every waking hour. This can lead to a poor work / life balance and thus employees ‘burn out’ quicker.
It is clear from research that employees are erring on the side of remote working. With it comes more freedom and the ability to manage your own time more effectively, however employers need to consider the pros and cons before making any decisions.
Remote working may be successful for some industries and not for others. Some companies may choose to allow employees a day working from home per week to give them that freedom, while maintaining employee / employer relations and a collaborative culture.
What are your thoughts on remote working? Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
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To download the comprehensive Rogers Connected Workplace report, visit the SlideShare link here.
To learn how Rogers is delivering the connected enterprise to Canadian businesses, visit: rogers.com/enterprise
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.