This interview with Steve Van Binsbergen, Vice President of Business Marketing at Rogers, was originally published in the Spring 2014 edition of the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s On Board Magazine. Reprinted with permission.
How are innovations in technology driving change in the Canadian workplace?
A transformation is taking place in the ways that Canadians think about work, partly as a result of the wider availability of technology. Rogers recently partnered with Harris Decima to capture attitudes of Canadians toward technology and the workplace. One key finding is that employees want more flexibility in the workplace. Specifically, they’re interested in working remotely, enjoying flexible work hours and choosing the devices they use daily. Two-thirds of employed Canadians said they would be more satisfied if their employer allowed them to work remotely. One-third would even sacrifice benefits like salary and vacation days to make remote work a reality. When asked to project forward five years, six-in-ten people said that either flexible work hours or having the ability to work from anywhere would be their top priority.
For more from Steve Van Binsbergen on the transformation of work, watch our video.
What is the impact of these changes on productivity? Are they cause for optimism or concern?
It really depends on how businesses respond to the demand for greater flexibility. Employers need to listen to their workforce; at the same time they shouldn’t sacrifice practices that have traditionally driven productivity and employee satisfaction. For example, employees still value a collaborative workplace. Seventy-six per cent of Canadians said a collaborative environment makes them more productive, and almost eight-in-ten agree that their job morale is positively influenced by face-to-face interactions. The message? Businesses need to ensure that they enable employees to achieve the benefits of in-person interaction while working remotely.
What can businesses do to ensure that the transformation of work drives positive business results?
First, ask your employees what they need to be more productive. Our research tells us that today’s workplace isn’t really meeting employees’ expectations. Employees are spending over half their days on desktop computers and landline phones, whereas they would like to spend more time on mobile devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets. In fact, three-quarters of full-time employed workers say that smartphones make them more productive, and the same number report being more satisfied with their employers.
Second, enable collaboration from anywhere. This no longer means making people come into the office for face-to-face meetings. Instead, companies can invest in solutions that allow teams to collaborate with tools like video conferencing, screen sharing and IP-based voice services. These cloud solutions can be accessed anywhere there is a broadband connection and on almost any smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.
Third, balance flexibility with security and good governance. Workplace policies are critically important. For example, 30 per cent of Canadians said their employer offers a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Letting employees use their personal devices (with or without company reimbursement) to check corporate email or to use an enterprise app is one way to achieve a more connected workplace. However, IT departments need to understand the implications of personal devices at work, including potential security risks, and ensure the right policies and tools are in place to secure and manage these devices.
What productivity and collaboration tools is your business adopting?