As most of Canada continues its reopening from COVID-related closures and vaccination figures reach key milestones, more employers are making plans to bring long-remote employees back to the office or physical workplace.
But how many companies have actually shared their plans with staff, and what’s encouraging some workers to make the return – and keeping others away?
The latest edition of LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index – based on a regular pulse of 1,000+ members in Canada – looks at what employers are planning to do about reopening, and what the workforce has to say about it.
Views around returning to the physical worksite – be it full-time, part-time, or not at all – have been highly polarized in recent months amid fierce debate over the future of work.
For some, a return to the office is seen as an ultimate goal to restore workplace productivity and bonds. Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan, made headlines recently when he said remote work “doesn’t work for those who want to hustle.”
Others, meanwhile, find virtue in exploring remote and hybrid opportunities longer term, arguing it’s better for employee wellbeing and inclusion, and can be just as productive. Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently stated that “the future of work is flexibility” as the tech giant crafted its future working format.
So what specifically do Canadian employees like – and dread – about the idea of returning to the physical workspace? Here’s what they said:
- Overall, the biggest draws of the physical workplace were opportunities to collaborate on work in person (66%) and the chance to socialize with others in person (65%), be it with colleagues, customers or clients.
- Nearly half (48%) of respondents also said they were looking forward to workplace perks, advancing in their careers as quickly as possible, or having meetings where other attendees are in the same room.
- Dressing up for work was polarizing. While 30% overall cited dressing up as a factor encouraging them to return to the physical workplace, 28% said it was actually a discouraging factor about returning.
- The same was true for the ability to do focused work: while 45% said it was a factor encouraging them to go back to the workplace, 18% said it was actually a discouraging factor, with them presumably finding other workspaces less distracting.
- And what about the good old days? Just over a third of respondents said they were drawn to the office to feel like work is “the way it used to be,” but another 20% balked at the idea of returning to the old normal, labelling it a discouraging factor.
Check out LinkedIn’s complete report online here.