More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, most Canadians have returned to their pre-pandemic working conditions — but for one in ten employees, the work from home lifestyle is sticking.
That’s the latest from a new Ipsos poll, which found three quarters of Canadian workers have returned to their original workplace.
“Most of us have returned to what our pre-COVID routines have been,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos, in an interview with Global News.
“So not quite entirely back to normal, but looking pretty close to what it was pre-pandemic.”
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Over half of those polled — 58 per cent — told Ipsos they couldn’t do their work remotely. Another 23 per cent said they weren’t given the option to keep working from home.
However, some respondents wanted to get back into the office. According to the survey, 15 per cent of workers felt they were actually more productive in the workplace and said they preferred to work in person.
Just 12 per cent wanted to see their colleagues, while seven per cent wanted to separate work life and home life; another four per cent wanted to escape their families.
“There are other people that we interviewed that basically said, ‘look, I missed the office. I miss my colleagues. I don’t feel I’m as productive working at home. I feel like I’m missing that environment of the of the workplace as I understood it before. So I’m going back,’” Bricker said.
But 12 per cent of those polled continue to fully work from home — despite working in an office before the pandemic. Another eight per cent are spending some days in the office and others at home — going for a hybrid model — they told Ipsos. This wasn’t their norm before the pandemic, they said.
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Transforming workspaces post-pandemic
Time, money and work-life balance are some of the deciding factors for those who continue to work, at least partially, from home. More than 50 per cent cited those reasons as being integral to their ongoing work-from-home lifestyle.
Just shy of 50 per cent of Canadians working from home said commuting time is a major factor, too, while one third of respondents said working from home is happier, less stressful and more productive.
Other reasons Canadians elected to work from home included feeling unsafe returning to the office, finding it easier to take care of their pets or kids, or because their employer shut down the physical office.
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While they’re in the minority, the fact that one in 10 Canadians continue to work from home could spell trouble for downtown infrastructure, Bricker said.
“That’s like one day removed from all of the economic activity that used to take place downtown as a result of this adjustment in the workplace,” he explained.
“And if that happens, it’s going to raise some serious questions … (for) those services that we’ve built up in our inner cities to be able to deal with the level of working population that that we used to have.”
However, only time will tell whether the dug-in work from home contingent will really leave its mark on downtown cores across the country, Bricker added.
“We’re just going to have to wait for a little bit of time to see where this goes.”
Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between June 9 and 13, 2022, with a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18-plus interviewed online. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18-plus been polled.
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