Workopolis Offers Tips for Employees Working From Home During the G20 Summit

TORONTO, June 24 /CNW/ - Toronto-area businesses have been dusting off their contingency plans to handle the disruptions related to the G20 Summit this week. A key component of the plan for many organizations is enabling employees to work from home - particularly if the disruptions will make it difficult for them to get to the office.

"With secure technology, trust and clear policies in place, a working from home plan will may help to alleviate the challenges many employees and employers are facing this week," said Peter Harris of Workopolis.

Tips for maximizing productivity when working from home

  • Establish a schedule. Keep work hours similar to the ones you would keep if you were working at your office. Your manager and your co-workers appreciate knowing when you are available.
  • Keep the lines of communication clear. Provide your manager and colleagues with the best telephone number to reach you. You may also consider using call forwarding to your home or cell phone so that you receive incoming calls wherever you're working.
  • Limit distractions. Be careful not to replace office-based interruptions with home-based ones (such as children, neighbors and friends).
  • Plan ahead. Take the appropriate work home with you and determine if you will be able to log on to your network remotely. You may also need to inquire whether confidential material can be taken off site (in paper or electronic form).
  • Set up a dedicated workspace. Ensure that your workspace is well-lit and comfortable and that you have everything you need to be efficient.
  • Maintain a professional attitude. If you have frequent client interactions, be careful to answer the phone or respond to their emails in a professional way. Wearing something other than pajamas will help put you in the right frame of mind and help keep you productive.

Benefits of working from home

Steering clear of security issues and traffic jams aren't the only reasons to consider working from home if you can. It can significantly improve productivity, enable businesses to be more competitive and enhances employee retention by offering them greater options for work-life balance.

Telecommuting also helps the environment by alleviating slow-moving highway congestion as fewer people have to commute in rush hour traffic. Approximately 70-80 per cent of Canadians regularly drive to work1 and transportation is responsible for 27 per cent of Canada's GHG emissions, with passenger vehicles accounting for half of this total.2

For these reasons and more, Workopolis is rallying Canadians to support a National Work from Home Day to emulate the Work Wise Day which has been adopted in the U.K. Supporters can visit the Facebook fan page to add their name to the growing list of signatures for the online petition. The petition can be found by searching Facebook for 'work from home day'.

"We believe that working from home can be a refreshing change from being in the office," said Harris. "Instead of water cooler chats, you can chat with your family and instead of braving a spirit-shattering commute, you get an extra hour in bed. Many Toronto area residents will be experiencing the plus-side of working from home this week and Workopolis would like to extend these benefits from coast to coast with an official day marked in our collective calendar."

Recently over 20,000 votes were recorded in a Workopolis homepage poll on the idea, and more than 80 per cent of people voiced their support for the movement. In a national telephone omnibus survey of 524 working Canadians conducted by Harris/Decima, over half (fifty three per cent) were enthusiastic about the concept (conducted between June 17 and June 20, 2010 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percent, 19 times out of 20).

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2 Environment Canada


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