Alternative Work Options

Working from home was an idea ahead of its time.

Because there was a time when working from home - telecommuting - was sneered at.

There had to be a physical office, people reasoned, where they can receive clients, where they can have their files and their little computers and fancy reception areas. They would gladly pay rent, no matter how steep or unreasonable, to justify that they are worth it.

Companies thought they had to see people to know that they are working. People would be less productive if left to their own devices. No one would really work if there was not anyone looking over their shoulders.

Tethering people on a 9-5 was also their justification for their mega-buildings. Those had to be peopled. For there to be progress, everyone had to do the daily shuffle of going to and from work - a rush through breakfast, kids to school, work from 9-5, go home tired.

Then came the pandemic.

Everyone is now championing working from home. It is a new lifestyle. People are screaming from the rooftops. It's such a good idea - why didn't they think of this before? They did not have to wake up early, don't have to use their cars (carbon footprint lessened, check), they can wear anything, even work in their pajamas. They don't have to get dolled up (unless they had a videoconference). They can be with their families and their families are within reach 24-7.

Now no one wants to return to the old ways.

However, not all jobs can fit into the work-from-home spectrum. Even in this time of the coronavirus, not all companies have the flexibility or the intention. There are some alternative work options. After all, the virus is still here and the vaccine is still maybe far away. The virus can still go to work. Here are the options:

·      Flexible hours

·      Staggering start times

·      Using email and teleconferencing

·      Consider the need for cross-training personnel to function in key positions

·      Workplace closures to be considered in exceptional circumstance and should be based on risk assessment

Even if work-from-home is not permanent, even if we go back to the traditional way of thinking or doing things, every measure taken now to maintain British Columbia's control over the spread of the virus is critical and important. A good head on the shoulders, compassion, care, kindness, careful planning and vigilance - are still necessary.

If you have any concerns relating to the workplace and COVID19, call us at 604-630-2350 or get in touch.

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Melissa Briones, LLB, CPHR

Welcome to Northam Law. We are an in-house counsel boutique firm handling the day-to-day legal needs of companies for a fixed fee.