Fidelity Canada’s flexible return-to-office rollout landed the company a win in the Future of work strategy category at Benefits Canada’2023 Workplace Benefits Awards on Oct. 20.

In September 2022, the organization launched its future-of-work program, which classifies each employee’s role as either hybrid, remote or in person. Indeed, 87 per cent of roles at Fidelity are classified as hybrid, which the organization defines as working in the office between four and 12 days per month, depending on the role and business needs.

“Your employees are your most valuable assets,” says Frank Vena (pictured, top right), the organization’s vice-president of human resources services in Canada. “Trusting them and giving some flexibility to them, . . . will pay for itself and reap rewards.”

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Through its home-office support program, the company provides remote and hybrid workers with a laptop computer, mouse, keyboard, headset, monitor and a webcam as well as $650 per employee to cover the cost of additional equipment. When working in office, employees also have their own personal lockers to store their belongings.

The organization also implemented a work-away program that allows employees to work abroad in its offices across 27 countries for up to three weeks every 12 months, providing employees with the opportunity to travel without using vacation days and to network with colleagues in other regions.

It also offers a flexible hours policy that allows employees to meet their personal obligations or to collaborate with colleagues in other time zones. As well, workers can telecommute during the standard business day at a remote location rather than a Fidelity office, as long as the location is agreed upon by senior management and participants commit to working from home a minimum of at least five days every two weeks. The company also designated one Friday per month as a ‘catch-up day,’ so employees can focus on their work without meetings or interruptions.

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The organization’s flexible working policies recognize employees as people with full lives and ensure they have proper work-life balance, says Tamara Glasgow-Cox (pictured, bottom left), its diversity and inclusion manager for Canada, noting people are more productive when they feel understood and cared for by their employer.

Fidelity also helps employees adjust to working remotely by offering education through LinkedIn Corp.’s learning platform on topics such as cloud-based communications and collaboration tools, time management, managing in a virtual setting, how to work effectively in a hybrid workplace, communications skills for leaders and avoiding remote working burnout.

Still, the importance of having a physical office space isn’t lost in the company’s push towards greater flexibility. “The . . . offices are important in that [they] promote collaboration,” says Vena, noting Fidelity wants its offices to be functional but also comfortable so employees enjoy coming in to work.

Each office also offers amenities such as collaborative lounge spaces, a wellness centre that includes gender-neutral washrooms, a prayer/meditation room equipped with water cleansing, a room for nursing mothers, a recreation room and library. The company also provides free coffee and specialty beverages from an in-office barista and supplies its offices with freezers full of frozen treats.

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