By Robyn Bews
Preface: Its confession time: I tried a few times to carve out some time to write this blog in my downtown office- even putting it in my calendar so I would discipline myself to do it. But despite my best efforts I kept getting interrupted and distracted by my beloved but ever extroverted and social colleagues. So, as the Executive Director of WORKshift, I packed up my things and came home to enjoy the solitude of my home office.
Makes sense: write a blog about working remotely from somewhere other than my downtown office (duh-uh).
WORKshift (noun): a management strategy that encourages employees to work where and when they are most effective with a focus on results rather than “presenteeism”.
Nearly 5 years ago with the leadership of Calgary Economic Development we launched WORKshift in Calgary. Our objective was to “accelerate the adoption of flexible and remote work in the Calgary business community”. We believed the research that supported this practice of part-time remote work can improve employee productivity and retention, that it supported organizations in their quest to optimize their real estate (2nd biggest expense next to employees) and would improve the overall livability of Calgary by reducing unnecessary commutes.
Guess what? It worked. Organizational leaders including those from Human Resources, IT and most often Real Estate and Facilities Management began to connect with us. They too saw the irrefutable trends towards an increasingly mobile world. For example, did you know that a quarter of all meetings are now conducted virtually? Don’t believe me? How do you conduct meetings with your partners and clients that don’t work in the same city as you? What percent of day do you spend actually sitting at your desk? Well, the research says in your average office are only occupied 45% of the time! The rest of the day employees are in coffee shops collaborating, on partner sites, in a boardroom, on an airplane… etc! Think about your own work day and test the theory.
Not only did Calgary organizations get engaged and excited about the opportunities that WORKshift offered their company, employees and community but we started to get interest from other cities and countries wishing to leverage the brand and approach.
We are excited to be launching WORKshift across Canada. This social enterprise is solely dedicated to supporting workplace transformation. And while we recognize that while it all starts with awareness and education, companies need more than that to implement.
The most common question we get from leaders is “where do we start, what is the roadmap to success?” So, in partnership with our Founders KPMG, Citrix and Shaw Business we are on a path to developing a standards-based organization that will do exactly that: create a roadmap. I like to say that we will do for the workforce what LEED did for buildings 15 years ago.
We are so excited to be launching WORKshift with our partners from SmartTrip so that organizations in Halifax will be situated to take advantage of our relationships, expertise, tools and resources.
The inaugural kick-off event in Halifax will take place on November 6th and features a panel of national experts in areas such as change management, real estate and technology who will engage in an interactive dialogue about WORKshift adoption. For tickets to this free event, please visit this link: https://futureofworkhalifax.eventbrite.ca/.
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While born in Calgary, Robyn has a commerce degree from Acadia University. She has worked as a marketer for multinational organizations including Calgary Economic Development, TELUS Communications and the United Nations.
As a result of Robyn’s leadership, advocacy and management, WORKshift has grown from Canada’s first regional telework project to a social enterprise and the defacto brand for all things related to flexible work in Canada.