Our work-life relationship is a complex one. Seeking balance between our work and personal lives has always been a challenge, but for some, the abrupt adjustment to working from home or other alternative work scenarios due to the pandemic caused some particularly unique stress.
- How can I work efficiently while I have children/family at home?
- How can I create an adequate workspace in my home?
- How can I stay in touch with co-workers and managers?
- How will I stay motivated, and not feel isolated or depressed?
These questions and more were top of mind for many people when businesses shut their workplace doors in the interest of public health and safety. While necessary, this shift in the work environment had never been done on such a wide scale before, and consequently left both employees and employers in shock and scrambling for new solutions.
However, rather than disadvantages, the year that followed saw many benefits arise from these new ways of working. Videoconferencing, team platforms and other technologies already available but underutilized, made it possible for businesses and workers to stay connected, access tools and resources, and be equally if not more productive when working remotely. E-commerce and online learning also soared to heights not predicted until the 2030s.
For energy sector businesses like TDE, increased demand, in particular the resurgence of $100+/barrel oil, plays a major part in the recovery and renewal of the industry. In fact, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) project a $21.2 billion capital investment in conventional oil and natural gas in 2022, up from around $18 billion last year.
With an improved economic outlook and the pandemic reasonably under control, businesses are welcoming staff and management back to company premises again. But, perhaps not unexpectedly, a return to conventional workplaces comes with its own set of stressors and adjustments.
Unclear plans for timelines, safety precautions and employee support caused concern and anxiety for many workers. In addition, the flexibility and other beneficial aspects of alternative work arrangements sparked a re-evaluation of career choices, time spent commuting, personal well-being, and economic worth.
So, the challenge becomes: how do we retain the benefits reaped from working from home, and bring them back with us to a location-centered workplace?
How TDE is helping employees return to the workplace
While Health and safety are always the top priorities for us, we wanted to be proactive in enhancing employee resources that support the four pillars of total employee wellbeing: emotional, physical, social, and financial, for our returning workers.
In a company-wide survey, our employees’ desire for increased flexibility and support in maintaining a healthy work-life balance when returning to work emerged as frequently recurring themes.
In response, TDE has taken several actions to address these issues, including:
- improved communication of TDE’s mental health supports through Lifeworks®
- the introduction of a Corporate Wellness Program
- a flexible work arrangement program
- competitive vacation times
Lifeworks®, part of our Employee and Family Assistance (EFAP) program, offers 24/7 access to expert consultants for work-life advice, information, and resources such as counselling, referrals to community supports, and helpful online content, along with a convenient mobile app.
Additional supports are presented via the Lifeworks® Heartbeat Webinar series that features globally relevant topics, knowledgeable guest speakers, and timely content to aid in overall personal wellness.
In addition, TDE has chosen to participate in the Corporate Wellness Program offered by the City of Edmonton, which provides discounted access to memberships and admissions to recreation facilities throughout the city as well as venues such as the Valley Zoo and the Muttart Conservatory.
Perhaps most importantly, in response to our employees’ strong desire to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and to carry forward the benefits gained from a remote work experience, TDE has officially rolled out a flexible work arrangement program.
The program includes arrangements for alternate work schedules, alternate work locations, and permanent part-time work. As well, we have reviewed our vacation structure and are proud to offer competitive vacation times consistent with our industry peers.
Sustainability is at the core of our business, and recent events have made clear that our success and dedication to creating a sustainable future must begin with sustaining the overall wellbeing of our people.