The global pandemic has been a catalyst for profound changes that are dramatically transforming how we work. Remote work enabled by the power of digital technology is on the rise for countless Canadian businesses and employees.
Remote work – including hybrid approaches combining in-office and remote settings – reimagines the traditional workplace and redefines how we measure productivity and success. The benefits are proving numerous, from greater work-life balance and enhanced collaboration to improved productivity and efficiency. As the rapid pace of change continues to accelerate, future-ready businesses are positioning themselves to adapt quickly to changing needs and emerging digital capabilities. As we navigate the post-pandemic landscape and the disruption of generative AI, the future of work is ultimately about embracing innovation in the face of change. In this new reality, business flexibility and agility are key.
Recent research and observations show that Canadian organizations across various sectors – including finance, healthcare, manufacturing and government – are ambitiously embracing both remote and hybrid workplace models. According to a report by the Canadian Digital Service, more than 80 percent of public-sector organizations have implemented or are implementing remote or hybrid work environments, and 85 percent of private-sector organizations in Canada say they are doing the same.
The future is here – and so are new workforce challenges
Meanwhile, according to a 2023 survey of Canadian hiring managers and employees by global talent-solutions firm Robert Half, remote jobs are likely here to stay. Nearly one in four (about 23%) of all new job postings in January, 2023 were advertised as remote – up from about 21% cent a year ago. And 85% of workers surveyed say they are interested in acquiring hybrid or fully-remote employment.
The survey also shows that workplace flexibility can lead to higher job satisfaction. While nearly three-quarters of professionals (73%) working remotely say they are putting in more hours now than three years ago, 43% also report higher job satisfaction.
Simply put, the future of work is here and it is digital. With its diverse benefits and growing impact, technology will continue to play an increasingly pivotal role in shaping the future of work. But beware. Change is difficult and adopting modern work practices can be a significant challenge for organizations and their employees.
A new focus on the employee experience is pivotal
A key challenge is the critical need to create a modern and consistent employee experience across diverse settings and devices. What is a modern employee experience?
- It represents each employee’s interactions with people, systems and policies across physical and virtual work settings;
- It’s the sum of all moments that matter between an employee and employer – how employees feel and how they perceive their overall potential and well-being;
- Employee experience also considers how job satisfaction and retention, rewards and productivity contribute to the creation of a ‘great place to work’ – ideally enhancing each stage of the employee lifecycle;
- It drives and enhances the employer brand, employee engagement, business performance and customer satisfaction.
Now more than ever, leaders need to balance business success with their employees’ interests. They need to drive alignment across the organization amid change and empower their people for new ways of working. Staying connected to employees and responding to their needs and concerns – regardless of where work – is crucial. Make no mistake – employees are placing a premium on working for companies that care about them as people. Employees are putting a higher value on their overall well-being now compared to the pre-pandemic workforce.
According to a Microsoft survey of 20,000 full-time employed or self-employed knowledge workers across 11 countries in 2022, employees who feel their companies use employee feedback to drive change and innovation are more satisfied (90% versus 69%) and engaged (89% versus 73%) compared to those who believe their companies don’t drive change and innovation. Driving change also includes the need to empower employees with new skills that will enhance productivity in the digital economy. The connection between employee learning and employee retention is clear, as the Microsoft findings also show: 76% of employees say they would stay at their company longer if they can benefit more from learning and skills-development support.
Forward-looking organizations are wisely embracing a modern employee experience. To implement and manage remote work effectively, many are adopting innovative collaboration and professional-development programs, tracking employee productivity and engagement, organizing regular virtual or in-person meetings, and developing strategies that enhance staff connections, efficiency and satisfaction across today’s diverse work settings.
CGI empowers firms to create a modern employee experience using Microsoft Viva, a unique platform built within Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams. By delivering tools for learning and development, and helping employees adapt to new work practices and settings, we enhance performance and productivity. Furthermore, CGI's expertise in integrating Microsoft's modern workplace solutions and cloud infrastructure components during mergers and acquisitions accelerates IT integrations, enabling faster collaboration among employees
Modern work settings demand new safeguards
Along the way, it’s also crucial – amid rapid change, growing complexity and the need to optimize business outcomes – that businesses protect their digital workers with appropriate cyber-security and data-protection capabilities. This means strengthening the organization’s security posture across the wide array of connected endpoint devices in use today such as laptops, tablets and phones.
As a Microsoft Modern Work Solutions Partner, CGI offers a range of Microsoft services that are helping our customers leverage the latest technologies to drive productivity, innovation and growth. Employees want to be able to work from any device, from any location, at any time. Employers that enable this flexibility want to ensure that the devices – whether they are PCs, iPhones, Androids, Macs, or other – are accessed securely with proper authentication and authorization. CGI assists clients in achieving a zero trust security strategy that enables the flexibility expected by their employees through Microsoft Intune, Azure Active Directory, and Microsoft Defender solutions. Through these solutions that are all part of the M365 cloud, CGI helps clients securely support their mobile and hybrid workforce.
Simplifying IT amid digital transformation
Beyond the need to create and sustain a modern digital employee experience, and implement new safeguards for today’s distributed work environments, businesses are facing the significant challenge of simplifying IT management amid the digital transformation journey and the rapid evolution of work settings. Managing the entire footprint of a distributed workforce across platforms and device types is the future – but it comes with the high cost of acquiring and implementing new technologies. And that’s no easy task in today’s hypercompetitive environment and uncertain economic conditions.
CGI is helping firms with the implementation of new capabilities that include Windows 365 Cloud PC. Through the reliable delivery of the Windows experience from the cloud to any device, firms gain the secure flexibility and mobility that employees demand. In conclusion, the continuing evolution of the workplace shows great promise and businesses implementing the right strategies and technology choices will position themselves for enhanced productivity, efficiency, growth and competitiveness in the digital economy.
CGI’s modern work experts
If you’d like more information on our work in this area or to discuss how we can support your digital transformation, feel free to contact our CGI experts:
- Sheila Mason, Canada Microsoft Alliance Lead
- Subin Alexander, National Director, Service Innovation and Growth, Canada Cybersecurity
- Noman Ahmad, Modern Work Center of Excellence Business Development Lead, Quebec City
- Brett Hardy, Director of Modern Work,Toronto
- Valerie Thompson, Senior Consultant, Employee Experience, National Capital Region