KEEPING UP WITH EVOLVING WORK ENVIRONMENTS
If you revisit the evolution of the office space, you’ll notice a lot has changed. Gone are the days of the factory floorplan where employees’ desks lined the walls of an open environment. Even within the last few years, the office desk itself has lost some of its appeal as the primary place of productivity. Employees are now gravitating towards spaces that offer a higher degree of comfort and sociability, such as lunchrooms, open landings, and even their own homes.
At LGM Financial Services, we have deep respect for our employees’ work-life integration and take into consideration the value of having job flexibility. While we have absolutely no objections to a full office and encountering a friendly face or two in the hallway, there are a few reasons why conversations regarding a virtual strategy at LGM arose.
Office spaces have improved significantly in design over the past decade, however flaws do still exist. The most common disturbances to employee engagement that we’ve identified include background chatter, harsh fluorescent lights, fluctuating temperatures, and even isolation, just to name a few. Once engagement takes a hit, the rest inevitably follows like dominos – down goes job satisfaction and, ultimately, productivity.
That’s why in early December 2017, we launched the first phase of our virtual strategy which has enabled fifteen of our Service team agents to work from the comfort of their own homes. Careful considerations were at play in determining which employees would be eligible to work remotely, including their home environment, length of service, and operational needs. Just a few months after the implementation, we’re able to say that we’ve seen boosts in productivity and engagement, further validating our decision to embrace this work style.
Our homes are familiar environments that fully cater to our mental and physical well-being. Giving our employees the option to work from home empowers them to construct their working environments according to their personal preferences, which in turn enhances productivity. It also eliminates the time spent commuting. Most of us are likely able to empathize with the uncertainty of city traffic and the frustrations it can bring. By making a conscious effort to reduce our employees’ carbon footprint, we can also continue to embody our Social Responsibility pillar.
The benefits of a virtual strategy are two-fold. On the one hand, employees have greater flexibility in their schedules. And as a business, we continue to improve our operational excellence – by maintaining our existing corporate offices despite our growing headcount.
Statistics Canada reported that over 1.7 million Canadians worked from home at least once a week in 2008 (Statistics Canada, 2016), which is almost a 23 per cent increase from the 1.4 million in 2000. The future of work has arrived, with virtual workplaces offering employees a greater degree of choice in when and how they work. When asked how they were adjusting to their new home office, one LGM Dealer Support Representative said, “a peace of mind, tranquility, extra time and savings on gas and kilometres; these are just a few of the benefits I’ve experienced over the past few months.”