While only 15 per cent of surveyed working Canadians listed wellness programs among their top three factors for successful remote work, the figure is almost double (28 per cent) among generation Z respondents, according to a survey for Randstad Canada by Ipsos.
And though there’s been a lot of talk about the importance of employee mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, only 14 per cent of working Canadians said their organization is providing enhanced or improved benefits like mental-health supports.
There’s been changes for employees and their leaders since the pandemic was declared last March, as 82 per cent said the ongoing coronavirus crisis has forced a change in leadership style. A third (34 per cent) said they’re more flexible now, while 28 per cent said they’re taking additional time to check in with employees one on one and close to 20 per cent said they’ve become more open and vulnerable about their own experiences and challenges.
In a press release, Dominic Lévesque, group president of Randstad Canada, said over the past 15 months and counting, successful leaders have led with empathy. “They’ve recognized and acknowledged their employees’ challenges as well as their own and, in sharing their own experiences, they have been able to build deeper levels of trust and respect. The pandemic has shown us strong leadership can include vulnerability.”
There’s also been a focus on increased efficiency. A quarter (25 per cent) of leaders have improved processes, followed by a stronger awareness of the tools their teams need to do their jobs well (20 per cent). Nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) agreed the transition to remote work has significantly changed their company’s culture and 47 per cent reported it’s become harder to connect with their organization’s corporate values.
Meanwhile, employees said they value remote work because it allows them greater work-life balance (42 per cent), saves on commuting time (26 per cent) and allows them greater control of their schedules (18 per cent).
In a separate survey for Randstad, 45 per cent of working Canadians said having flexible work hours is key to a successful remote work environment, followed closely by managers who trust and listen (44 per cent) and proper equipment (39 per cent).
A fifth (20 per cent) of surveyed employees said their organization will implement flexible hours post-pandemic. But there’s differences in expectations across Canada, as 26 per cent of workers in both Ontario and British Columbia said they expect a move toward flex time, while those in Quebec (14 per cent) and Alberta (12 per cent) consider it less likely.
Nationally, 60 per cent of employees said they expect more changes to workplace once the pandemic is over. A quarter (26 per cent) of employees said they expect their organization will add more health and safety measures and protections beyond those already in place and 16 per cent expect more information technology tools and resources for employees, while 15 per cent predict the physical office space will be reduced. Meanwhile, only 14 per cent of employees said they believe their organizations will implement more employee skills training, upskilling or reskilling post-pandemic.