Last week, Sue Haywood, Business Sherpa Group’s HR Business Unit Lead participated in a discussion with Justin Clory, Employment Law Expert, on legal obligations for managers in the modern workplace, hosted by Invest Ottawa. The event focused on the legal obligations for virtual workplaces. With Ontario recently passing Bill 27, or the Working for Workers Act, there were lots of questions about the right to disconnect, and employers’ duty to accommodate virtual employees.
Legal Obligations for Virtual Employees
Justin started the discussion by looking at legal changes happening in the world of work, highlighting that workplace cases are only appearing in courts now due to the backlog from the pandemic. As a result of this, we are only now approaching a time where legal precedents will be set around workplace health and safety at home. There have already been rulings that managers should find interesting, such as a case in Quebec where an employee had an injury while working from home, something judged to be a workplace injury.
Read: Quebec Judge Rules at-home injury while doing job remotely is a workplace injury
When discussing the right to disconnect and the future of hybrid work, Sue pitched guests a question: Is it best for your employees to come back to the office, and why? Sue encouraged listeners to embrace hybrid and remote workplaces for a variety of reasons. If you want to retain most of your staff, giving them flexibility will be key, as workers are now prioritizing personal passions over work obligations. In addition, that flexibility of location enables managers to accept applicants from all over the country, which can give you more skilled workers from different backgrounds to choose from.
Business Sherpa Group is a remote organization, so Sue was able to talk both with her HR expertise and personal experience.
Read: Organizational Design in the Post Pandemic World
When asked about the right to disconnect, and how employers can monitor their workers who work remotely, Sue asked again, why is there a need to monitor employees? Rather than focusing on the time when someone is at their desk, shift that focus to if they are finishing tasks on time. Giving employees the option to work remotely but locking them into a strict schedule is not offering them true flexibility.
Read: Survey Results: Tips for Attracting and retaining talent
We would like to thank Invest Ottawa for inviting Business Sherpa Group and Sue to participate on this panel, and Justin for being a great co-host with Sue. If you missed the presentation and would like to listen in, you can find a recording on the Invest Ottawa EventBrite. If you have questions about legal parameters in your workplace, or the legal obligations for virtual workplaces, our HR experts can help clarify any subject for you. Just contact us through the link below and we will be in touch shortly.