A recent survey commissioned by the Robert Half recruitment firm reveals that despite the efforts made by their employers (bonuses, benefits, paid leave, etc.), North American employees want to have access to flexibility that employers are still reticent to provide.
Among these are a flexible schedule, a condensed work week and the possibility of remote working… Measures currently offered in less than 20% of companies!
Yet, as noted by Élaine Tremblay, occupational therapist at Intergo: “Such measures prevent problems of absenteeism and burnout, are very powerful tools for retention, and increase productivity by 10 to 30%. Employers are not sufficiently aware of the benefits they can bring.”
The fantasy of the four-day week
This is also the conclusion of a study conducted in the New Zealand company Perpetual Guardians, which proposed to its 230 to test a four-day week over six weeks.
At the end of this test period, neither the revenue or the profits of the company suffered. The staff was more likely to increase productivity and motivation, while reducing stress. Another noticeable collateral effect was that the company not only saw its retention rate improve, but it also managed to attract new and promising candidates, who were enthusiastic about the company’s progressive approach.
Remote working: home sweet home
Is it a utopia to believe that employees can be productive when working from home? Not if we are to believe a survey from Harvard Business Review, which reveals that remote work is on the contrary linked to an increase of productivity of 13.5%.
It has also been shown that the possibility of remote working has a positive effect on employees’ mental health by considerably reducing the stress linked with routine, transport and traffic.
The right to disconnect
At a time when employees are increasingly in demand by phone calls and emails for work, it may be time for Canadian companies to adopt a policy on the right to disconnect. Last year, France put in place a law to protect employees’ right to disconnect.
“Employers need to promote best practices,” Élaine Tremblay reminds us. “Emails outside regular hours should only be sent in cases of extreme urgency. It’s a question of respect. Conversely, employees also have to take responsibility for disconnecting outside work hours.”
After all, being able to exist other than under your professional status is even more than flexibility – it’s freedom…