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Federal return-to-work guide underscores benefits of remote employees

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 @ 2:07 PM | By Tara Vasdani

Tara Vasdani %>
Tara Vasdani
The cost savings and efficiencies created by remote work have been celebrated by my firm for years, and as 2020 continues to unfold, support for remote working arrangements continues to amplify — including at the federal level.

On Monday, June 22, 2020, the federal government released a guidebook detailing how public servants will return to the office — and more importantly — whether they ever even will have to.

The review was revealed by Treasury Board president Jean-Yves Duclos, who oversees the bureaucracy as a workforce. While the onboarding process was slow and far from foolproof, the government made an observation that we have been advocating for throughout this pandemic — namely, the investment into IT infrastructure to work remotely throughout COVID-19, coupled with employee autonomy, creates for a very appealing work environment.

Law firms have been particularly slow at adopting remote work infrastructure, as have some provincial courts. Nevertheless, the tools and assists available — artificial intelligence and automation included — make it very easy to transition a workforce into permanent remote work options, and as of late, make it inescapable.

Of its benefits, remote work offers employers cost savings on a mass scale, including lessened real estate fees, access to wider (and cheaper!) talent pools, employee loyalty and employee retention. For the employees? The obvious benefits are less commute time, increased work-life balance, autonomy and overall flexibility.

The federal government’s report highlights the decreased need for offices over the next few years, and observes how it has doubled the number of secure Internet connections and tripled the number of minutes available for teleconferences, over the past three months.

The review states that federal workers whose “work can be done remotely should continue to take advantage of recent investments in IT infrastructure and digital skills, as the work and equipment permit.”

Aside from the safety remote work options present in a pandemic, the cost-savings and efficiencies created by permanent remote work structures are undeniable. Diversity and inclusion has also been a hot topic over the last few years, and by widening their talent pools, employers unintentionally open their doors to a more diverse workforce, with better customer experience and better tailored results. Workforces are suddenly meeting the demands of corporate social responsibility, and diversity and inclusion targets.

In today’s business environment, pandemic aside, permanent remote work options for employees and employers for whom the benefits are obvious, are vital.

Tara Vasdani is the principal lawyer and founder of Remote Law Canada. Her practice centres on employment law, civil litigation and remote work. She has been featured in Forbes. She was the first Canadian lawyer to serve a statement of claim via Instagram, and you can reach her directly at

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