Nearly half of Canadian managers let workers have flex schedules

11 November 2021 2 min. read
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Nearly half of managers in Canada (48%) allow their employees to choose when they work, according to a Robert Half survey of 800 senior managers in finance, technology, marketing, legal, admin, and HR conducted in June. The staffing and HR firm also polled 500 workers in August.

The shift to remote work has made the concept of flexible schedules more tenable, as the hardline 9-5 at a physical office was eliminated for many office workers. In a remote work environment with task-based objectives, the idea of working from 7-to-3 or finishing off a missed half-day on a Saturday morning is less of an issue – provided employees still make it to mandatory meetings.

As such, managers with remote teams (56%) are more likely to offer their direct reports flexible schedules. Managers at large companies with 1,000 or more employees (56%) are also likelier to allow flex work.

Thirty-one percent of managers also told Robert Half they don’t mind if their direct reports put in fewer than 40 hours per week as long as they complete their tasks.

Nearly half of Canadian managers let workers have flex schedules

This flexibility hasn’t resulted in employees slacking off, however. Sixty-one percent of workers said they need at least eight hours a day to finish their work, and half (52%) attend more video calls than they did six months ago. Many workers also believe video meetings are an inefficient time-sink, with an average one-third of meetings perceived as a waste of time.

Perhaps driven by a desire to keep up appearances, 52% of workers never completely disconnect from work during business hours – even during breaks – and feel obligated to respond to messages and requests immediately, according to the survey.

"An employee with a long to-do list may feel pressure to work non-stop, which is why organizations must do their due diligence prior to introducing flexible schedules,” said David King, Canadian senior district president of Robert Half. “Auditing processes, projects and deadlines, and checking in regularly will help employers determine the work arrangements that work best for their staff.

"Employer support is critical to mitigating burnout, including bringing in outside help, but employees are also responsible for establishing a healthy relationship with work," added King.

Robert Half has a few tips to help employees protect their time in a remote work environment. First, they should speak up if they’re feeling overwhelmed and discuss options to alleviate burnout. Employees should also schedule and attend virtual meetings judiciously, and utilize call recordings to catch up at their convenience. Finally, workers should communicate their hours of availability to colleagues and build in time for breaks.