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Enjoying working from home? It may not last

Many more Canadians are working from home now than before the pandemic, and it turns out that most of them are enjoying the change in their work situation. They had better not get too comfortable with it.

Several new polls out last week reveal a disconnect between employers and employees when it comes to remote working – and offer a hint as to what is to come for the year ahead.

A recent poll found that 80 per cent of Canadians who are currently working from home would like to continue work remotely, even after the pandemic ends.

Many employers, on the other hand, are looking forward to having their teams return to the office – at least some of the time. A Conference Board of Canada survey found that 44 per cent of employers will require their staff who are currently working remotely to return to the workplace in some capacity. For many this will involve a hybrid of working remotely some of the time and coming into the workplace for the rest.

Many organizations feel that having a central workplace is critical for maintaining the culture and fostering collaboration. However post-pandemic, it’s looking like increased flexibility and alternative working arrangements will be the new norm for many.

Isolation can be one of the main hardships for employees who are working from home. When staff are separated from the workplace and from their team members, organizations can lose their sense of cohesion. Along with the desire to see their colleagues, survey respondents also reported missing their previous daily routine and even their commutes.

In order to manage these remote teams and keep all members productive and engaged, the Canadian HR Reporter is writing about the growing number of companies that are adding a new executive position, the “head of remote.”

Of course, not all jobs can be performed remotely. Statistics Canada recently estimated that only about 40 per cent of roles can be reasonably done from home.

Over the past year, the way many of us work has changed, and it appears as though these shifts will have lasting impact. While conditions at the outset of 2021 are still far from the pre-pandemic norm, all signs point to a more flexible future. Employees and employers have realized what jobs can be done remotely and experienced the benefits and challenges of working from home.

So, for many a return to the office may be imminent, but it will likely not be a full-time, nine-to-five return to the way we used to work. This blend of in-person and remote work can offer employers and their staff the best of both worlds. It offers increased flexibility and work/life balance without losing staff collaboration and unified company culture.

How about you? Are you enjoying working from home – or looking forward to going back to the office? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

See also:

Remote workers putting in longer hours.

4 skills you’ll need to thrive post COVID lockdown.

More companies saying employees will never return to the office.

What not to say in the job interview

Employer survey reveals detailed plans for bringing staff back into the workplace