Canadian Survey Reveals Employee Sentiments towards the Return to Office

Don’t take it from us.

A recent report by Canadian global staffing firm Robert Half has shown that about 33% of professionals currently working from home due to the pandemic would look for a new job if required to be in the office full time.

Hopefully, this statistic will caution those considering implementing more hard-line policies regarding workplace attendance once offices are deemed safe to return to.

The report sought to show how professionals across the country are really feeling about returning to the office, as well as what they need in terms of support and what they expect from their employers.

The results can serve as a valuable resource for employers across the country to inform corporate decision-making, return to office policies, and structures that will establish the office’s ‘new normal.’

Workers want…

According to the survey results, the most-desired workplace arrangement was a hybrid model, with a vote of 51%. This model is highly flexible, but at its core indicates that employees would split their time between working in-office and from another location.

This preference beat fully remote work as a workplace arrangement, as a result of many professionals having concerns about never being in-office. Such concerns included:

  • Relationships with co-workers could suffer (39%)
  • Fewer career advancement opportunities due to lack of visibility (21%0
  • Decreased productivity while at home (16%)

The survey result could also be due to feelings of anxiety related to the health and safety risks caused by the pandemic. However, there is much to suggest that people will want to spend at least some of their workweeks outside the office, even after the pandemic is behind us.

What should you do?

Adopting a hybrid workplace should at least be a consideration for the future of your workplace. Every organization has its own unique needs, so assessing what a hybrid workplace could look like for you is a good place to start. Your employees are valuable knowledge sources when it comes to figuring out the logistics of such a process, so be sure to keep communication channels open.

Looking for more hybrid workplace resources? We’ve got you covered:

The survey also revealed what employees desire most from their employers and workplaces. The top five ways workers want support are:

  • Freedom to set preferred office hours
  • Employer-paid commuting costs
  • A personal, distraction-free workspace
  • Relaxed dress code
  • Employer-provided childcare

The future of work

“After more than a year of uncertainty and pandemic-induced remote work, there is a growing desire among some business leaders to return to business as usual, including welcoming employees back to the office once it is considered safe,” said David King, Canadian senior district president of Robert Half. “However, companies should be prepared for a potential disconnect between their ideal work structures and that of their employees.”

This is why studies such as this one are so important in guiding the return to the office. In fact, employee input will increasingly become integral to businesses as talent attraction and employee retention become more and more challenging.

Setting up feedback systems and communication channels that will allow you to hear and respond to employee suggestions and concerns quickly and effectively could make all the difference, not only in the success of your reopening plan but also in the future of your workplace.

“As we reimagine the future of work, now is the time for managers to engage in mindful discussions with their teams to determine what they most want and need,” said King. “Establishing a return-to-work plan that prioritizes employee health and well-being and fosters a strong corporate culture can help bolster retention and recruitment efforts.”