Small number of Calgary city employees may soon go back to the workplace

David Duckworth has been hired as the new manager for the City of Calgary. Global News

The City of Calgary is working on a plan to get a number of its employees physically back to work at city hall instead of working remotely at home.

When COVID-19 restrictions were put in place in March, about 5,000 city employees began working from home.

READ MORE: Calgary city hall restricts access amid COVID-19 pandemic

City manager David Duckworth said a plan is being developed on how to get a number of employees back to the workplace.

“We’re looking at everything from what we’re going to be doing with elevators and staircases and work spaces. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to make sure our staff are safe and feel safe.”

He said the city will bring some staff back over the next couple of months in small numbers and those will be people that are more productive and effective being at the workplace.

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“I have no doubt there will be still a significant number of those 5,000 employees currently working from home that are going to be working from home for the foreseeable future,” Duckworth said, adding it will be quite some time before it’s business as usual at city hall.

“Very likely until there is a vaccine and people are vaccinated or there is herd immunities, it will likely be until sometime in 2021 when most of our staff start likely coming back to the workplace.”

Read more: Several Calgary employers working from home amid COVID-19 concerns

The head of city hall administration believes there could be accommodations made for some employees who could work both from home and at city hall.

Duckworth said while the pandemic has brought a number of challenges, in a number of areas he said productivity from city employees has increased while they work from home.

“There’s no need or rush to get a lot of people back to the workplace but we do know there’s some positions and employees that we know would be better back in the workplace and that’s what we’re working through in the next few months. So we need to determine which staff are better off being at the workplace — one, to maintain safety and two, to make sure our service levels are where they need to be.”

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