Bracing for back to work

Results from a new Leger poll show strong support for the continuation of hybrid work beyond the end of the pandemic

Photo by Brusk Dede on Unsplash

WITH COVID CASES declining, vaccine rates up and the prospect of offices opening not that far off, surveyed Canadian workers are showing that they are in no rush to head back in, according a new report.

Data collected by the polling firm Leger found that nearly 80 per cent of Canadians are against the idea of returning to the office on a full-time basis. But only 19 per cent are interested in scrapping the office altogether, with the lion’s share of responses indicating some desire to follow a new hybrid work pattern that would make the office a part-time workplace.

The plurality, 40 per cent, favoured a pretty even split: a few days a week at home, a few days a week at the office, while one-fifth of Canadians wanted to see the office serve as a place at check in at once or twice a month.

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It’s becoming increasingly likely that the longest-lasting effect of the pandemic on workplaces will be the rise of hybrid work, which London Inc. explored in our spring issue.  London companies have all responded in their own way — some going more remote than others — but realized early what the data is now showing: that working from home, at least part time, was not only attractive because of the danger of catching Covid, but because of the many other benefits workers were finding came along with it.

“People were thrilled — especially after having established new routines in their homes during the pandemic — that we are offering this on an ongoing basis,”’s CEO David Ciccarelli told us. “We’ve been able to adapt our hiring methods, recruiting tech talent from across the province.”

‘For employers, it would suggest that a wholesale return to pre-pandemic ways might be impractical and unappealing’

The Leger data supports this, with the top reasons for wanting to keep hybrid work being the convenience, the money saved on gas and the productivity benefits that came with working at home.

And some will cling to it at all costs: 35 per cent of people surveyed said that if their job required them to come into the office, that they would start looking for another job that was more accommodating to a hybrid or remote work arrangement.

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For employers, it would suggest that a wholesale return to pre-pandemic ways might be impractical and unappealing. Anyone who hasn’t yet conjured up plans for how to approach the new desire for hybrid work may find themselves struggling to keep their workforce happy.

Survey results like this will be music to the ears of those who have seen the pandemic expose the cracks that already existed in workplace culture, and if nothing else, present an opportunity for employers to consider how their approach to work and the management of their employees can be improved.

“We’ve got to make it better, and I think we can — that’s the point,” pointed out Ahria’s Terry Gillis is our coverage. “We can if we get out of our own way and we focus on what really needs to happen. Stop getting into this master-servant power dynamic relationship, where the bosses have the power and the employees are the minion, and actually look at it as a bit of a partnership.” Bracing for back to work hybrid Workforce Kieran Delamont

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