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Remote Work: Pros and Cons

Goals

Identify the advantages and disadvantages of allowing employees to work remotely from part of the workweek, a list of companies in Canada that are adopting this practice, and some best practices for companies engaging in this practice. This information will inform a human resources decision about allowing part-time remote work.

Early Findings

Advantages

  • Some advantages of allowing a work from home policy include better retention, improved work-life balance, relocation possibilities, a wider talent pool, increased diversity, and better productivity.
  • Approximately 34% of workers say they would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely, and 24% say they would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely.
  • Over 80% of respondents to a survey about working remotely said that working remotely would make them happier, feel more trusted at work, and allow them to better manage work-life conflicts.
  • A 2019 study of teleworkers in various occupations found that employees whose jobs were highly complex but required little collaboration performed better when telecommuting than when in the company's office.
  • A 2015 research review found that on the whole telecommuting increased job satisfaction, performance, and feelings of commitment to an organization among employees.
  • A meta-analysis found that a telecommuter's relationships with colleagues usually only suffered if they worked remotely three or more days each week.

Disadvantages

  • Some disadvantages of allowing a work from home policy include the reliance on trust, potential security threats, poor communication, and awkward flexibility.
  • According to a survey of Canadian businesses, some obstacles to implementing flexible work options include management resistance, concern over productivity losses, and a lack of jobs suitable for flexible work.
  • A 2015 research review found that some drawbacks of telecommuting include social and professional isolation, fewer opportunities for information sharing and a blurring of boundaries between work and personal life.

Canadian Companies

  • World Vision Canada offers flexible hours, compressed workweek options, and telecommuting.
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre offers a shortened workweek, compressed work week, and telecommuting options.
  • Telus allows around 47% of its workforce to work outside the office on any given day.

Other Relevant Information

  • In the US, 57% of workers had a flexible schedule in 2018, and 25% worked at home some of the time.
  • Of remote workers in the US, 54% work remotely at least once per month and 48% work remotely at least once per week.
  • The three departments most represented among people who work remotely are Facilities/ Operations/ IT, Customer Support, and Sales.
  • A survey of Canadian businesses revealed that while 88% of Canadian businesses offer flexible work arrangements, 45% of those companies only offer it to their most senior employees.

Proposed next steps:

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