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4 in 5 Canadians don’t want return to pre-pandemic work schedule: poll

The pandemic has given many Canadians a taste of working from home, and a large majority say they don't want to return to pre-pandemic work schedules. Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has normalized working from home, and many Canadians say they want to see it stick.

A May poll by market researcher Leger in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies suggests four in five respondents across the country don’t want to go back to their pre-pandemic schedule, with 35 per cent, who are still working from home, also saying they’d quit their job if their employers had them work on-site.

Barbara Bowes told 680 CJOB other surveys have found similar results, adding she’s predicting a shift in employment models on the horizon.

“It’s driving employers to really look at flexibility, and remote work works,” said Bowes, who works with Winnipeg’s Legacy Bowes Group, a company specializing in human resources. “Flexibility is one way that they can attract and retain their employees. So, they’re going to think really about bringing everybody back and requiring everybody to work in the office. So, I think there’s a lot of thinking going on about that, and they’re not going to be as rigid.”

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

Bowes said overall, employers could become more flexible to attract and keep talent.

“Companies, especially larger companies, they do want their employees back at work, but there is the trend now of saying flexibility is worth more than you think, because they don’t want to lose employees,” she said.

Bowes said she anticipates employers will permit a mix of at-home days and at-the-office ones, in addition to job sharing, where two people could share shifts in a week.

“I think the hybrid work schedule and perhaps the job sharing will go forward,” Bowes said. “I don’t think that as many people as are predicted will quit, because quitting a job, you really have to take a look at all of the elements.”

The poll also suggests 82 per cent of Canadian respondents gave their working-at-home experience a positive review, with 40 per cent saying they’d prefer a mix of days at home and in the office.

Half of Canada’s respondents also said they wouldn’t feel comfortable returning to work if some of their co-workers weren’t vaccinated.

1,624 Canadians over 18 participated in the web survey between May 21 and May 23, 2021, randomly recruited through Leger Opinion’s online panel.

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