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Over 60% of Canadians say they would rather continue to work remotely

Are you nervous about going back to work?
Photo: Face masks at work / Getty Images

Are you dreading heading back to the office? Or, have you gone a little stir-crazy at home and are itching to go back?

While the majority of Canadians worked from an external workplace prior to the pandemic, many of them have been working from home during these unprecedented times. 

Now, many employers are asking their staff to make a gradual return back to the workplace. However, not all employees are ready to make the transition back.

According to a new study released by Pwc Canada, 82% of Canadians worked primarily from an external workplace prior to the pandemic. Today, that number is down to 27%—with 59% now working remotely. 

What's more, the study finds that, "while most employers (78%) expect at least a partial return to the office in the next three months, only one in five employees says they want to go back to their workplace full time."

Canada-wide, employees say they want the flexibility to choose between working from home or the office. That said, there are some regional disparities: "Workers in Alberta and Atlantic Canada are the most comfortable returning to their workplace in the next three months (47% and 45%, respectively), while Ontarians are the least (30%)."

In total, the study found that 27% of employees are ready to return to the workplace, while a staggering 59% say they'd like to work solely at home; 14% say they'd prefer a mix of the two. 

Employees report that their top three challenges are dealing with work-life balance (especially for households with kids), maintaining productivity and communicating with co-workers without traditional in-person interactions.

Despite naming maintaining productivity as a top challenge, some Canadian workers say their productivity has actually increased since the pandemic. In fact, employees are largely split around whether productivity has increased, decreased or stayed the same. The financial services industry experienced a significant boost in output, with almost half (46%) of employees reporting increased productivity during the pandemic (the highest among sectors measured).

pandemic-work-ethic.jpgPhoto: Pwc Canada

This poll was conducted by the Angus Reid Group from July 23 to 27, 2020, to understand Canadian employees’ and employers’ perceptions of work productivity and effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll was conducted using a nationally representative sample of 1,528 full-time or part-time employed Canadians and a sample of 505 Canadian employers, defined as executive or senior decision-makers who manage team members.


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