Would you support a national work from home day?

Cost savings, decreased stress, increased flexibility and for many, increased productivity. These are just some of the benefits derived by employees who are able to work from home. It’s no wonder that 88% of those polled in a recent Workopolis survey say that the government should back an official day promoting telecommuting.

Currently, June 1 is unofficially “Work from Home Day.” More than 75,000 Canadians have pledged their support for the Workopolis campaign on Facebook, and in November 2010, Michael Savage, then-Liberal MP for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour in Nova Scotia introduced legislation to the House of Commons looking to make the day a nationally recognizable day. However, the legislation died when the recent federal election was called, in which Savage lost his seat.

“Work is not a place you go anymore, it’s something that you do and, increasingly, something for many workers that can be done anytime and from anywhere,” said Gabriel Bouchard, president of Workopolis. “Technology is changing the very nature of work. Forward-thinking employers are waking up to this new reality, changing their approach and seeing the benefits of new smarter working practices, including remote working, which also reduces transportation costs.”

To date, more than 75,000 Canadians have pledged their support for the Workopolis campaign on Facebook.

And, a recent Omnibus study shows that 80% of Quebec workers, 79% of those in Atlantic Canada, 66% in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and 65% in Alberta are in favour of an official government-sanctioned national work from home day.

Working from home works for many

  • The U.K.’s sixth annual WorkWise Week culminated with a National Work from Home Day on Friday, May 20, 2011 with approximately 5.8 million people telecommuting.
  • Calgary just completed its 2nd annual WORKshift Week (April 18-22, 2011);
  • Ottawa’s municipal government recently announced an investment of $20-million over four years to introduce a telework program for almost 2,000 of its workers.
  • Quebec has launched a program to ‘certify’ employers that meet standards for encouraging work/family balance—telework being one of those programs.

Why it’s a win-win situation
Yes, working from home provides personal benefits for employees, but there are also benefits to employers. According to Workopolis, nearly 90% of those who work from home at least once per week agree they are more productive.

Offering such a benefit also shows current and prospective employees that a company is a flexible employer, which can increase employee retention and potentially even reduced operating costs for things such as rent and transportation.

When asked about their likelihood of switching jobs if an employer provided the option of working from home, nearly 73% of those Workopolis surveyed said they would seriously consider it. If presented with two job opportunities with all other things being equal, 88% said they would choose the one offering the option to work from home.