On Friday, November 16th at 11:45, the Central Library is pleased to host Dr. Laura Hambley as she presents on The Psychology of WORKshift, in conjunction with the Career Development Association of Alberta. Learn how employees can have the flexibility to work when and where they are most efficient, and how this relates to career planning . We interviewed Dr. Hambley to get a primer on WORKshift and where it is headed:
Dr. Hambley, I understand the term telecommuting is no longer in vogue, nor best describes this push towards flexible work environments (WORKshift). Is this trend gathering steam in Calgary?
Yes, WORKshift is definitely gaining momentum. I’ve seen interest in and adoption of WORKshift reaching a tipping point in Calgary this past year, having grown significantly since I first began my research in this area in 2004. And not just large organizations are adopting WORKshift, but also small and mid-sized, and both private and public. Not everyone uses the term WORKshift, and we use it synonymously with telework. Organizations sometimes coin their own terms for WORKshift arrangements.
Companies such as TELUS, the City of Calgary, ATB Financial have all embraced this work environment for employees. Do you have a sense of why other companies are more reluctant?
Managerial mindset is one of the biggest barriers we see. Basically, managers believing that their people must be seen to be working. This is known as “presenteeism”, and in actuality a person sitting at a desk does not guarantee they are being as productive as possible!
Do you think companies are worried their employees will be less productive if they are not in the office?
Absolutely. They do not trust people to manage their time and distractions, and to prioritize work appropriately. But this lack of trust is a major issue, as whether one’s team is in or out of the office, trust needs to be there for effective working relationships to happen.
Is WORKshift more popular with women than men? If so, why?
I have not seen differences in numbers of men or women who WORKshift. We do see greater adoption with the younger generations as a trend, which makes sense given increased comfort with technology. We also see certain departments or industries being earlier embracers than others. Not surprisingly, the IT departments tend to pave the way.
Is the prevalence of portable technology making this more feasible?
Absolutely! This article was published recently – it shows what may be coming in the future with the current levels of technological progress. As well, this website also has great information for those wanting to learn more about WORKshift.
Laura has a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology specializing in the human dynamics of virtual leadership/teamwork and WORKshift. She has completed and published extensive research on the critical success factors for effectively leading virtual teams and WORKshifters, has co-authored a book on the topic (Growing the Virtual Workplace, 2008) and her research has also been published and presented at international conferences Laura is an entrepreneur who has helped create The Leadership Store, a Calgary-based leadership consulting firm and founded Calgary Career Counselling. She is also an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary.