It’s undeniable that demand is growing for employers to offer more flexible work options. According to a study by Harris / Decima, 89 per cent of employees feel that a flexible work program makes a company more attractive, and flexible work was considered the second most important factor, after money, when Canadians are looking for a new job.

Flexible work arrangements not only affect your ability to attract top talent. But it also has other flow on effects of improved employee engagement, retention and performance.

Flexibility in the workplace can take on many forms and with different focuses.

  • There are initiatives related to hours – flextime, compressed weeks, part-time
  • There are initiatives related to performance – results-oriented KPIs, earned days off
  • There are initiatives related to workstyles – telecommuting, flexible workspaces, job sharing
  • And finally, there are initiatives related to lifestyle – phased-in retirement, on-site facilities (e.g. day cares, gym, housing)

We take a look at what five top employers are doing to create more flexible workplaces for Canadian workers: 


KPMG has established some great initiatives that offer a more flexible lifestyle for its employees, catering to greater demands for work-life balance.

  • KPMG supports a unique “Working Parents” networking group that brings together parents with young children to share ideas, experiences and resources in balancing their personal and working lives.
  • A “Personal Care” program provides employees with up to 50 hours of paid time-off annually to help with a range of personal matters, including family emergencies, bereavement, moving, religious observance and personal appointments.
  • Older employees can prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options that allows them to gradually leave the workforce.
  • Their unique LEED-certified head office which features an employee lounge, video games, pool table, self-service kitchen areas on every floor, quiet room for reflection and prayer and nap room for employees who need a quick rest during the busy day.

World Vision Canada

World Vision’s employer brand is right in line with its corporate brand, combining professionalism with passion.

  • World Vision helps employees balance their work and personal lives with a variety of alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, shortened and compressed work week options, and telecommuting.
  • Employees have the opportunity to travel to locations where World Vision operates to see the impact of their efforts.
  • They also offer retirement planning assistance and phased-in retirement work options.
  • As an added performance initiative, employees can earn extra time-off through a formal Earned Days-Off Program

Simon Fraser University

Forget hour-long commutes! SFU employees have work-life balance at their doorstep with access to the new urbanist UniverCity development project. The UniverCity community, which surrounds its Burnaby campus, is one of the most innovative and progressive urban development projects in North America.

  • The SFU Community Trust has incorporated below-market housing options for SFU faculty and staff into UniverCity, thus providing affordable housing options for members of the SFU Community in close proximity to their place of employment.
  • UniverCity is nestled into a wild, protected forest and the whole community emphasises sustainability throughout.
  • A large percentage of those who live in the community have ditched their cars and can either walk or ride their bikes to work, adding to the green culture of the workplace.


You don’t have to be a big business to implement flexible work options. Use the above examples as inspiration for implementing flexible working best practices into your business. Flexible workplaces are as much about attitude and management culture as it is about formal programs. And any company that finds a way to implement more flexibility into their culture will find themselves winning top talent over their competitors.