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40% of Canadians want remote-workplace combo post-COVID

A new survey from Leger, in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS), found that 40% of Canadians and 33% of Americans would prefer working a mix of a few days a week at their workplace, and a few days a week at home when the pandemic ramps down and life returns to a new normal.

That may not be possible for every employee, based on their specific role and tasks. But where possible, as businesses consider their post-COVID steps, it is worth noting that 82% of Canadians and 85% of Americans who worked/are still working from home during the pandemic said their experience was/has been positive.

Some employees would like to return full-time to their workplace, but those employees represent only 20% of Canadian respondents and 19% of Americans.

When asked about their current work situation 34% of Canadians said they have always worked at their workplace versus 36% of Americans; 11% of Canadians said they are mostly or fully back at their workplace after being home for a while, versus 15% of Americans; and 31% of Canadians are still mostly or fully still working from home, versus 26% of Americans.

To break that down further, 49% of Canadians have worked almost entirely from home since March 2020—with the largest numbers in Quebec and Ontario (tied at 54%), followed by British Columbia (44%), the Atlantic provinces (43%), Alberta (33%), and Manitoba/Saskatchewan (27%).

Among those working from home, 39% represent people aged 18-34, 57% represent those aged 35-54, and 48% represent Canadians 55 years and over. As for location, 48% are in urban areas, 54% are in sub-urban areas, and 34% are in rural areas.

On the COVID-19 virus and its variants, 50% of Canadians and Americans 47% who want to return to their workplace would not be comfortable doing so if some of their colleagues are not vaccinated.

In fact, 35% of Canadians and 39% of Americans who worked/are still working from home during the pandemic are so uncomfortable with this situation that, if their superior orders them to return to the office, they will be on the lookout for another employment opportunity that will allow them to work from home.

Why do employees enjoy working from home? The survey indicates that 67% of respondents said it is convenient, while 64% noted saving money on gas and other forms of transportation. Thirty-nine per cent said they are more productive at home, and 35% said they have a long commute and would be more productive staying at home. Other reasons include a fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus (24%), being a better parent for their children (18%), and not enjoying their office/workplace environment (9%).

Whatever your plans post-COVID, it may be worth creating a survey for your own business to better understand how your employees feel about the remote/workplace situation.

The survey was conducted online from May 21- 23, 2021 with 1,624 Canadians and 1,002 Americans, 18 years of age or older, and randomly recruited from LEO’s online panel.

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