More than 85 per cent of Canadian organizations offer flexible working options to employees, according to a new survey by the Conference Board of Canada.

The survey, which questioned more than 320 employers, found that among those that provide such arrangements, flexible hours (93 per cent) is the most commonly offered option, followed by part-time remote work (55 per cent), occasional remote days (52 per cent), compressed workweeks (45 per cent) and working remotely on a full-time basis (45 per cent).

Read: Telecommuting most popular form of flexible working provision: survey

When it came to employers in the government, health, technology and pharmaceutical and chemical products sectors, all respondents offer at least one flexible working option. That was the case for about 90 per cent of employers in the not-for-profit, utilities, education, finance, insurance, real estate, forestry, mining and agriculture industries.

“Employees value flexibility when it comes to when and where they work for a variety of reasons, and demand for flexible work arrangements is likely to increase as the Canadian population ages,” said Allison Cowan, director of total rewards and compensation research at the Conference Board of Canada, in a news release.

“Canadian employees are seeking a balance in work and family obligations, with many facing both childcare and elder care responsibilities, and are looking to their employers for support.”

Read: Workers would take pay cut, reduced vacation to work flexibly: survey

The most popular reason for offering flexible working options, according to the survey, was to improve employee engagement (62 per cent), followed by employee demand (42 per cent) and retention (35 per cent). While slightly less popular, other reasons included the need to keep the total rewards package competitive (31 per cent), boost employee morale (19 per cent) and mitigate burnout (10 per cent).

In terms of the roadblocks to implementing flexible working arrangements, 64 per cent of respondents cited resistance from management. Another 63 per cent cited a concern over lost productivity. More than half (59 per cent) said there was a lack of jobs that met the criteria for flexible working, and 30 per cent said they lacked the technology to accommodate employees working off-site.

Formal training on managing flexible work is also lacking, according to the survey, with just 21 per cent of managers and 14 per cent of employees receiving it. That said, the survey noted some organizations offer guidance and support around flexible working from human resources departments or training on an as-needed basis.

Read: 60% of U.S. workers feel more productive when they have workplace flexibility

Copyright © 2021 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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