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Calgary lays out new standardized work-from-home employee policy

The City of Calgary will be asking workers to come back to the office this spring, while still allowing for some telework flexibility.

On Tuesday, the City of Calgary provided the information to LiveWire Calgary, saying they had now standardized its approach to telework for city staff who continued to work from home after the province lifted its work-from-home mandate.

The province began a staggered ending to Covid-19 mandates roughly a year ago. On March 1, 2022, they ended the work-from-home and provincial mask mandate. The City of Calgary continued to allow workers to operate from home during that time.

Back in June 2022, City Manager David Duckworth told the CBC that a hybrid workplace would be in place for a while.

On March 6, 2023, the City will roll out a new standardized approach for telework.

All people leaders – including supervisors, leaders, and above, can continue telework one day a week. Starting April 3, the remaining individual contributing employees approved for prior telework can continue to telework two days a week.

“We believe this move strikes a balance between giving City staff flexibility and ensuring we have the in-person connections that are key to collaboration and teambuilding,” read a statement from the City of Calgary.

“The City of Calgary has always valued flexible work and we are proud of how staff were able to adjust quickly during the pandemic to follow the provincial work-from-home mandate.”

‘A bit of a straitjacket’: CUPE 38 president

D’Arcy Lanovaz, president of CUPE 38, representing more than 4,400 inside workers, said members are disappointed the city went with a standardized approach.

“There’s a total of 15,000 employees total in the city and we’ve learned that one size absolutely cannot fit all,” Lanovaz told LiveWire Calgary Tuesday afternoon.

“Certainly what we’re hearing from our members is a disappointment in terms of putting a bit of a straitjacket on it by that standardization.”

Lanovaz said workers have told him that they were more productive with a flexible situation – like in the current model where they could determine based on their need how flexible the schedule could be.

He said rather than a blanket standardization, it would be better to have those conversations on the ground floor.

“It’s the employees and the supervisors that understand the nature of the work at the work unit level,” Lanovaz said.

“They understand the needs, they understand the stressors.

“Our view is to allow that decision to take place at the lowest level in the organization rather than mandated from the upper.”