Telus Corporation
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Telus Corporation

September 15, 2014 09:00 ET

New Study Demonstrates Why Canadian Businesses Should Embrace a Flexible Working Program

Ivey Business School finds mobile and at-home workers enjoy better work-life balance, demonstrate increased loyalty while maintaining productivity

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 15, 2014) - A new Ivey Business School study reveals that mobile and at-home workers are just as productive as their office-based colleagues - and they're happier. The study, conducted with TELUS, found that mobile and home-based workers experienced better work-life balance and were less inclined to leave their jobs.

The year-long study surveyed more than 2,000 knowledge workers and their managers at TELUS between February 2013 and February 2014 and had the following key findings:

  • Mobile and at-home workers reported better work-life balance.
    • 98 per cent of mobile workers and 99 per cent of at-home workers reported low to moderate impact of work duties on their home and family life, compared to 71 per cent of resident workers.
  • Mobile and at-home workers demonstrated increased loyalty.
    • 100 per cent of mobile and at-home workers were considered low-risk of leaving TELUS.
  • Mobile and at-home workers were considered equally productive as their resident colleagues.
    • Leaders showed no differences in their ratings of productivity or performance of mobile, at-home and resident workers.

As an increasing number of millennials enter the workplace and advances in mobile technology allow workers to be connected anytime, anywhere, flexible working programs are a growing trend that Canadian businesses can't ignore. A 2013 study by Price Waterhouse Coopers found that more than 60 per cent of their workforce wanted a flexible working environment, and a 2013 IDC study predicted that 73 per cent of Canada's workforce will be mobile by 2016.

TELUS implemented its flexible working program "Work Styles" in 2006. Not only has Work Styles played a key role in attracting and retaining top talent, but it has also driven increased team member engagement. Over the past seven years, TELUS has seen its employee engagement scores rise from 53 per cent to 83 per cent - the highest score worldwide for a company of its size and workforce mix according to global HR organization Aon Hewitt. Engagement scores for mobile and at-home team members are even higher at 84 per cent and 85 per cent respectively.

TELUS' Work Styles also delivers economic and environmental benefits. Since launching the program, TELUS has reduced its real estate footprint by more than one million square feet, and by investing in collaborative technology TELUS has cut travel costs by more than $14 million and achieved a 22 per cent reduction in carbon emissions. Last year, Work Styles eliminated more than 19 million kilometers and 1.1 million hours of commuting by TELUS team members.

"Work Styles provides our team with the tools, resources and support they need to work when and where they're most productive," said Andrea Goertz, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer at TELUS. "We've witnessed the success of the program first-hand and the Ivey study confirms our belief that a flexible working program delivers substantial cultural, economic and environmental benefits to an organization."

"With Work Styles, TELUS team members maintained their performance, exhibited increased loyalty, and experienced lower stress and less family/job conflict," said Alison Konrad, a Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the Ivey Business School, who co-authored the study. "But it also found that issues like professional isolation and perceptions of fairness can arise in the absence of strong leadership."

In TELUS' experience, successfully implementing a flexible working program requires a multifaceted approach that combines technology, strong support from senior leadership and a comprehensive change management plan. Mobile technology (smartphones, tablets and internet sticks), collaboration tools (voice and video conferencing, instant messaging and document sharing), and cloud-based applications and storage accessible from any device lay the foundation; but an organization's leaders must be committed to driving a large-scale cultural shift.

"Implementing a flexible work program requires an organization to step into unfamiliar territory - there are behaviours to change, management styles to reshape and new cultural norms to establish," said Goertz. "However, when embraced by leaders and supported by the right technology, these programs offer tremendous benefits for both team members and employers."

With seven years of experience championing a flexible work program, TELUS now guides other organizations in successfully shifting to a flexible working model. Earlier this year, the company created TELUS Transformation Office, a future-of-work consulting practice that leverages TELUS' first-hand experience to help organizations transform their cultures through best practices in engagement and technology.

To learn more about TELUS Work Styles and the Ivey study, please visit telus.com/workstyles.

To learn more about TELUS Transformation Office, please visit telustransformationoffice.com.

About TELUS

TELUS (TSX:T)(NYSE: TU) is Canada's fastest-growing national telecommunications company, with $11.7 billion of annual revenue and 13.4 million customer connections, including 7.9 million wireless subscribers, 3.2 million wireline network access lines, 1.4 million Internet subscribers and 865,000 TELUS TV customers. TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services, including wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, television, entertainment and video, and is Canada's largest healthcare IT provider.

In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed more than $350 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered 5.4 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. TELUS was honoured to be named the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company to receive this prestigious international recognition.

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com.

About the Ivey Business School

The Richard Ivey School of Business (www.ivey.ca) at Western University is Canada's leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in today's complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Executive Development at campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto, Hong Kong and Mumbai.

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