This is part one in a three-part series about flexibility in the Canadian workplace.
Each year at The Canadian Workplace Culture Index, we conduct research and explore key trends to understand how Canadians’ experiences in the workplace differ. This year we partnered with researchers at UBC to enhance and improve our report.
As we prepared to conduct our 2022 research earlier this year, we wanted to analyze the workplace experience of Canadians while focusing on current major trends in people and culture including flexibility. In this three-part series, we’ll explore the benefits of flexibility, define modern flexibility, and explore what our data reveals about flexibility for different Canadians.
For any organization, providing flexibility requires a mature workforce and a level of trust between employees and leadership that is often lacking in some organizations and industries. If team members’ work can be measured and quantified it will be easier to provide flexibility while holding people to a standard of production. For those that are measured by revenue such as salespeople or those that are measured by billable hours, it is a lot easier for leaders to provide flexible options. Trust and communication are vital to successfully creating a flexible workplace.
Many leaders fear moving away from the usual nine to five believing that it will harm their business. However, studies into flexible workplaces show the opposite. A 10-year-old study by Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom of more than 16,000 employees found those who were able to work remotely reported higher job satisfaction and took fewer sick days than their office-based colleagues. Recently, Vodafone shifted to an agile working strategy and saw increases in productivity and employee engagement as a result. They’ve even gone as far as creating a mini Flexible Working eBook.
Offering flexibility in the workplace enables your organization to attract and retain top talent. The demand among younger workers for a less rigid work schedule continues to grow. According to research by Capability Jane, 92% of millennials selected flexibility as their top priority when looking for a job. Somewhat surprisingly, the same is true at the other end of the age demographic where a majority of those over 50 stated that they wanted to ease into retirement via part-time work first. Only 17% of those over 50 favour traditional retirement plans.
Often the benefits of having our teams on inflexible arrangements are taken for granted while the potential negatives are emphasized There are a number of proven benefits in providing flexibility. Flexibility offers employers a number of key benefits including:
- Enhancing workplace morale and motivating employees
- Encouraging employee loyalty
- Attracting top talent
The benefits of flexibility for employees are also compelling and include:
- Reducing burnout
- Enhancing health and wellness
- Boosting productivity
- Improving morale
- Prioritizing families
At the Canadian Workplace Culture Index, we recently completed our annual research into the state of workplace culture in Canada we asked a number of key questions about flexibility and then looked at those results through demographic lenses for ethnicity, age, location, and more. In a future post in this series, we’ll reveal some of the key insights and differences for Canadians when it comes to flexibility.
In part two of this series, we’ll explore exactly what flexibility means and what it looks like in practice. Here’s a preview of what we’ll explore in part three, the data on flexibility for Canadians. As you review these results consider the nature of the different types of employment that men and women make undertake in Canada. Men report having more flexibility in only one way when they work.
How are you experiencing the benefits of flexibility individually or in your team or workforce?