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Poll of Canadian businesses suggests work from home may be here to stay

Click to play video: 'New study shows working from home will be permanent for many employees' New study shows working from home will be permanent for many employees
Economist Pierre Cléroux discusses why many companies now think working from home just makes good business sense – Jun 15, 2021

A new poll suggests that working from home may be here to stay even after the pandemic.

The survey conducted by the Business Development Bank of Canada found that 74 per cent of businesses will let their employees work from home post-pandemic.

Click to play video: 'Will Canadians ditch the office? Many want to keep working at home after the pandemic' Will Canadians ditch the office? Many want to keep working at home after the pandemic
Will Canadians ditch the office? Many want to keep working at home after the pandemic – Jun 1, 2021

More than half the employees say they would like to work remotely as much as or more than they do now.

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Pierre Cléroux of the Business Development Bank of Canada said working from home offers some employers flexibility.

Read more: Working at home provides relief for some racialized workers, who now ‘dread going back’

“It’s a great way to for our employee motivation and employee retention,” he said. “Also, what we find in our research is employers can hire people in different cities. So if you work from home, you can work in another city or even in another province. So in the situation where it’s difficult to hire people — there’s a shortage of labour — this is quite the benefit.

For employees, the main benefit of working from home is avoiding a commute.

“When you work two or three days a week from home, you avoid the traffic,” Cléroux said. “You have more time. That’s really valuable for employees.”

Cléroux said the next few years could prove challenging for office buildings and business centres located in a city’s downtown core, but they will survive as the economy continues to grow.

Read more: Will Canadians ditch the office? Many want to keep working at home after the pandemic

He does foresee growth in areas outside of city centres.

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“The communities who are going to benefit from that is the community outside the big centres,” he said.

“I think now as people are working more from home, they will need more services, more restaurants, more retail, because they’re going to stay much more in their community. So these communities are going to benefit from that.”

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