Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

For millions of Canadians, working remotely from home has become commonplace since the pandemic began.

 

Whether they are working at a desk in a spare room, rec-room or even the kitchen table, many Canadians have had more than a year to adapt to this new COVID-19 reality which continues to see our work habits evolve the longer it continues.

 

In fact, according to a Statistics Canada survey, nearly one-quarter of Canadian businesses expect that 10% or more of their workforce will continue to work remotely post-pandemic. That same survey indicates at least 25% of Canadian businesses will offer their employees the option to work remotely, while at least 14% said they will make it a requirement.

 

 

“I really think it’s going to change the landscape of your workforce in the traditional sense,” says Brandy Ireland, Business Development Manager with Peninsula Canada.

 

The company, created in 2017, offers expert advisors to provide HR, health and safety and employment support to SMEs.

 

“I think a lot of offices are going to be more of a co-operative space where people will have more flexibility,” she says, noting this will be a positive move for those who may find themselves with a sick child and no longer have to take the day off. “Before, you’d have to take a full day off and then try to play catch up. So, it’s stressful being at home dealing with a sick child and knowing you have all this stuff building up at work.”

 

But there are also negatives, as many of those who are working remotely have discovered, such as mental health issues and productivity concerns.

 

These are some of the topics Brandy will touch on at our May 18 YIP Growth Learning Series event: ‘Workplace Discipline in a Remote World’. Her discussion will feature tips for employers that they can utilize to promote work productivity remotely, including clearly outlining necessary policies to ensure all parties are in agreement.

 

“We want to make sure you’re all singing from the same song sheet and understanding the expectations because that can really help,” says Brandy. “On the side of HR, there are no laws mandating what these policies need to look like. You just want to make sure you’re using the proper legal language to make sure it’s conveying the correct expectations.”

 

These include policies around such thing as a drugs and alcohol use.

 

“You have to make sure there can be no assumptions made,” she says.

Brandy says expectations could also change if an employee wishes to work remotely from another province, or even a different country.

 

“There’s going to be different implications based on where the employee may want to move to,” she says, noting occupational and health safety issues, as well at the Employment Standards Act, are different in each province. “You would have to adjust your contracts and your language. Also, if they move out of the country there could be tax implications and the employer would need to understand the tax restrictions of where they’re moving to.”

 

Besides work-related expectations, Brandy will also touch on the mental health issues now surfacing for many employers.

 

“I have had a lot of calls and claims coming from the mental health side of things and stress associated calls with workers feeling over-worked and uneasy, especially in light COVID-19 and the restrictions. People are just really lonely and tired of being stuck at home with no interaction,” she says, adding one of her tips will be to encourage employers to host team building activities. “It could be hosting a game night, or a game hour during lunch on a Friday. Or just trying to do some team building exercise as people transition into the weekend.”

 

Brandy says the need for empathy is one takeaway she hopes participants will receive at the Growth Series event.

 

“A lot of people are dealing with a lot of different situations in their households,” she says, adding many be trying to share their new ‘workspaces’ with spouses or children learning online. “There’s going to be specific and individuals stresses they are dealing with including anxiety and family. You really have to be empathetic.”

 

Also, Brandy says the need for clear communication and proper documentation will be other important takeaways.

 

“You want to make sure you’re doing what you can to provide a stable environment in an unstable situation,” she says.

 

Our YIP Growth Series: ‘Workplace Discipline in a Remote World’ event will take place Tuesday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to noon. Sponosred by Deluxe  For more, visit https://bit.ly/3vma3SX

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