“National work from home day” proposed for Canada
Following Stephen’s story about “Go Home On Time Day” in Australia, it was refreshing to hear Liberal MP Mike Savage promote a National Work From Home Day in our country. Here is some of what he said in the House of Commons on November 24, 2010 as he championed the idea:
“As a nation we need to rethink the world of work, and the option to work from home should be part of that national discussion. It’s good for the environment and work-life balance, and will improve our nation’s productivity, which adds to greater business success. I applaud Workopolis for their efforts to spearhead this initiative and urge the government to listen to the thousands of Canadians who support a National Work From Home Day. This is part of the new reality of work.”
He was referring to the 50,000+ fans who support the initiative on Workpolis’ Facebook page.
Workopolis also commissioned a survey that revealed Canadian workers are willing to make sacrifices to have more flexibility:
– Half (51 per cent) said they would be willing to use their own resources, such as their own personal computer, to work from home.
– More than a quarter (28 per cent) indicated they would work longer hours, and two in ten (19 per cent) even said they would take a pay cut to be able to work from home.
– Sixteen per cent of workers would give up vacation days to take advantage of the added flexibility a work from home day would provide.
Earlier this year, Workpolis had commissioned another survey that revealed that good work-life balance was the top attribute workers are now seeking in a new position, with over three quarters (78%) citing this as their top choice.
While telecommuting as a way to offer workplace flexibility is appealing to many, organizations and employees themselves need to study the issue carefully.
Here are some questions for managers considering possible telecommuting of their employees:
Q: Does this person have the discipline to work by him/herself?
Q: Is it possible to manage her/him by objective and by work output?
Q: Does she/he have the required infrastructure at home to work there?
Employees considering telecommuting should ask themselves:
Q: Do I have the capacity to draw mental boundaries so that I know when I am work ing and when I am not working (“at home”), even if I’m always in the same space?
Q: Does my family have the capacity and the willingness to accept that some of the hours I spend at home are when I am “at work”?
Q: Am I able to work without social interaction (e.g., without peers and colleagues)?
Source: “No matter where you are – Balancing work and family”, Chinchilla, N., Las Heras, M., and Masuda, A., eds., HRD Press, U.S., 2010, p. 42