The New Workplace: An Employer’s Guide to Working from Home
Two weeks ago, more than a thousand New York Times employees refused an order to return to the office at least three days a week.
Unionized staffers sent a letter to corporate leadership with the names of nearly 1,300 journalists who signed a pledge to continue working remotely.
“We will continue to produce high-quality, award-winning work, while reminding the company it cannot unilaterally change our working conditions,” read the letter.
This comes as part of a broader trend toward remote work.
Remote work – also called working from home – is an arrangement in which employees work from a location other than a central office operated by their employer.
What are the benefits of working from home?
Why is it that so many New York Times employees want to work from home?
Remote work means flexibility.
You can take a 30-minute break without your work ethic being called into question.
You can attend a medical appointment at 11:00 AM without colleagues passing judgement.
You can pick your 8 and 10-year-olds up from school at 3:30 PM without your commitment being put in doubt.
Remote work boosts productivity.
Working from home often means fewer distractions – there is less noise and little-to-no opportunities for chitchat. Meetings tend to be more efficient, too.
Moreover, there is no reason to stress about office politics or weather microaggressions from unknowing colleagues.
Remote work reduces work-related expenses.
Working remotely means spending less on parking and gas – there is no commute to your home office.
Bonus: Reducing or eliminating your commute is great for your carbon footprint.
Working from home often means spending less on childcare, too.
Lastly, work-from-home arrangements provide you with locational flexibility. There is no need to live within 30 minutes of the downtown office when you are working remotely – you are free to live in whichever area suits your budget.
Did you know? Canadian Equality Consulting (CEC) staff work from home.
What does it mean to be a flexible employer?
Flexible employers seek to provide employees with a sense of freedom or independence as to how they accomplish their goals. They work to ensure their employees have the means to do their jobs effectively.
Flexible employers seek to build an environment in which staff can thrive.
Employers can demonstrate flexibility by recognizing and accommodating employees’ working styles – their modus operandi.
For instance, while some might be more focused in a central office, others might do better in their home offices. To optimize employees’ performance —not to mention their health and wellbeing— employers ought to provide them with the freedom to choose whether they will work from the office or from their own homes on any given day.
See CEC Subscription Services to learn more about how to boost employees’ health and well-being.
What can employers expect of employees working from home?
Which of the following statements is true?
- Employees working remotely tend to be happier.
- Employees working remotely tend to be more productive.
- Employees working remotely tend to be more loyal.
- All of the above.
The answer is D – all of the above.
Studies have shown that work-from-home arrangements tend to make for a better work-life balance.
A better work-life balance, in turn, tends to boost morale, leading to an increase in both productivity and employee satisfaction.
An increase in employee satisfaction, then, leads to reduced turnover.
See CEC Subscription Services to learn more about how to achieve a better work-life balance.
What is a hybrid work environment?
A hybrid work environment is a labour model that allows for a combination of in-office and remote work. It is flexible employers’ model of choice.
See What does it mean to be a flexible employer?
In hybrid workplaces, staff work when and where they are most productive. They are free to choose whether they will go into the office or work from home on any given day.
Do hybrid environments work?
Hybrid work environments work – sometimes.
When employers implement hybrid work environments in an effort to promote a better work-life balance or otherwise accommodate employees, they are effective.
When employers force in-office or remote work arrangements onto their employees, hybrid work environments are not-so-effective.
The key is to consult your employees. What do they need to achieve their goals?
Do they need to work in a central office two days a week in order to maximize their productivity?
Four days a week?
One day a week?
Again, when employers force either in-office or remote work arrangement onto their employees, hybrid work environments do not work.
Consider the New York Times attempt to mandate in-office work at least three days a week. The organization tried to impose a rigid labour model on their employees – and failed.
Because they did not listen to their employees.
Had they taken the time to consult their staff, they would have learned that more than 1,300 employees were unwilling to return to the office.
In a word, they would have saved themselves –and their employees– a lot of trouble.
Interested in learning more about how to make your workplace more inclusive? Check out our Equitable and Inclusive Leadership Program – a leadership development program designed to equip you with the know-how to spearhead diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in your organization.
Looking for something more? Feel free to reach out to CEC directly. Our team of experts will work with you to build a custom DEI strategy to meet the specific needs of your organization.