23 Dec The Post-Pandemic World
Canadians are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. As we are excited to return to a normal way of living, there may be many opportunities to re-define what normal really means. Canadians have spent months temporarily working from home, and many people have established good work habits. For some, remote working has been a nightmare, but for others it has been a blessing in disguise. When the virus subsides, why not have the option to work remotely long-term?
Internationally, Spain, Greece, and Ireland have all drawn up a remote-work legislation. Greece has even made working from home a legal right and Spain has created a formalized Bill of Rights for remote workers. With this bill, remote working has to be voluntary and no employer can terminate an employee’s job if they refuse to work from home. In Canada, working from home is a privilege, not a right – we have been much slower to adapt our employment rights based on the massive shifts in telecommunication. Over 25% of Canadian employers have indicated that they would allow their employees to work from home and 48% of employees are indicating that they will be working remotely post-pandemic.
There are complications that can emerge with remote working that many of us are familiar with. The asynchronous working space makes it difficult to work with teams. Some people are hesitant to turn on their cameras and participate in conversation, which can make communicating with teammates very challenging. Distractions at home can make work tasks harder to complete and even some will face complications with WIFI service. Communication via email can be harder to instigate. Emails can be left unread or information could get lost in email threads that are challenging to navigate. But are most of these complications stemming from a lack of formal policies and laws regulating the terms of working remotely?
For some companies, these complications may be outweighed by the fact that by working remotely, businesses can reduce cost and employers and employees can enhance their standard of living. In response to this remote post-pandemic world, the following will outline policies and legislations that could be created.
The provinces should create remote work policies that would clearly define laws surrounding the hours of work, break times, health and safety, insurance, and employment arrangements. This will help employees organize their at-home-workspaces, as well as, push employers to develop easier methods to communicate through time zones and online platforms. These policies would define work arrangements, such as when an employer can rightfully terminate remote working. Further, these laws could outline what a proper remote workspace should entail. This could mean that employees may have to stay in their homes and not work from other areas of the country or world.
There is also the possibility for specific legislation for remote workers. The province’s legislation could outline how to maintain equality for remote workers, career opportunities that could be possible from home, and what an employer would be responsible for in terms of equipment needed to complete tasks specific to their job.
While working remotely is a nuisance for many, it has become the norm for a great deal of the population. If there are those who prefer to work from home, the provinces should facilitate and develop legal parameters to endorse these decisions. Our country has the opportunity to normalize working from home once Covid-19 is controlled, and people that have benefitted from this new reality should not be required to revert to their old routines.
If remote working post-pandemic suits your needs as an employer or employee, contact KCY at LAW to learn how you can best shift to a long-term remote work environment as seamlessly as possible. Call 905-639-0999 or book your consultation online through our consultation request form.