3 in 4 workers back to pre-pandemic routines

How many are given the option to work from home?

3 in 4 workers back to pre-pandemic routines

More than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted work practices, 74 per cent of Canadian workers are already back to their pre-pandemic routines.

Nearly six in 10 (57 per cent) are back in the office while fewer are working from home (13 per cent) or in a hybrid work model (four per cent), just like they did before the health crisis, according to an Ipsos survey.

Just 12 per cent are fully working from home, even though they previously were in the office, while eight per cent are in a hybrid setup and have yet to return to their pre-pandemic norm of being in the office.

Employers must turn to data and analytics if they want to entice workers to head back to the office, one expert previously told Canadian HR Reporter.

On the other hand, more than nine in 10 (94 per cent) of senior executives believe their company has a shared culture it can maintain in a hybrid working environment.

Reasons for return

There’s a lot of different reasons workers have opted to go back to their usual work locations, according to Ipsos’ survey of more than 1,000 adult Canadians conducted on behalf of Global News in June.

Among those who have returned, 58 per cent say their work cannot be done remotely while 23 per cent were not given the option to work from home. Other reasons for going back to the workplace include the following:

  • They are more productive in the workplace (15 per cent).
  • They like getting out of the house (15 per cent).
  • They prefer to work in-person (14 per cent).
  • They want to see colleagues (12 per cent).
  • They need to separate work life and home (seven per cent).
  • They want to get away from family (four per cent).

Among those who have opted to work from home or in a hybrid model, nearly half did so to save on commuting costs (51 per cent) and commuting time (48 per cent), or to have better work-life balance while working from home (51 per cent). Other reasons for choosing this setup include:

  • They find working from home less stressful (35 per cent).
  • They are happier working from home (33 per cent).
  • They are more productive at home (31 per cent).
  • They do not feel safe going back to the office (22 per cent).
  • They find it easier taking care of pets when not working in the office (21 per cent).
  • Their employer no longer has a physical office (15 per cent).
  • They find it easier to manage child care when not working in the office (13 per cent).

While many workers are warming up to the idea of returning to the worksite even more, nearly one-third (32 per cent) of Canadians say that they would look for another job if their employer forced them to work exclusively from the office.

The world of employment has changed in the past few years, but the corporate world still has a culture that demands people to be back in the office, says Allison Schrager, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in a piece for Bloomberg.

“We now have the technology to telecommute in many jobs, and the pandemic pushed that transition forward. But technology and culture don’t always change at the same rate,” she says.

“Ideally, work-from-home will continue to exist in some form — perhaps as an option if you work on contract and crave more flexibility. Or you can use the option when you need it, such as when your child is sick. Otherwise, everyone needs to go back.”

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