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Canadian office workers are ready to go back to physical office work

A study by the KPMG group of office workers who have been working remotely for more than a year showed that most employees are ready to return to physical office work, but 75% of employees want a hybrid work model so that they can work remotely on certain days.

A study of approximately 2,000 Canadian office workers found that 63% of them want to return to their physical workplace, i.e. the office.

Half of the respondents stated that they are more productive and effective in a virtual work environment. This is a decline from 59% from a similar survey a year ago, suggesting that 14 months of working from home have taken a toll on some workers.

Canadian office workers in finance, government and other sectors have not returned to their jobs as quickly as their American counterparts. Which is due to Canada’s late start to vaccination compared to the United States. According to Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker, less than 4% of Canada’s total population is currently fully vaccinated.

A positive sign is that the supply of vaccines is increasing, and Prime Minister Trudeau has promised that by the end of September any Canadian who wishes will be able to receive two doses of the vaccine. Thus, it gave companies an impulse to plan the return of employees to their offices.

Some companies, including Manulife Financial Corp. have already committed to some flexibility in their labor policy after the pandemic ends.

According to KPMG’s national leader Doron Melnick, people miss their colleagues and just want to come back, say hi and be part of the buzz in the company. If vaccinations go as planned, there may even be a quick return to the offices. According to him, the fact that employees want to return to offices does not mean that they want to stay there 5 days a week.

KPMG partner Leigh Harris believes that the latest research findings are consistent with other studies, and that the pandemic is impacting the mental health of Canadians, many of whom feel overworked and burnt out.

Almost half of the respondents fear that if they continue to work remotely, they may be discriminated against or overlooked in terms of promotions and other changes in the workplace.

Over 80% say managers need better training to manage hybrid teams in the workplace.

Canadians have many concerns about the safety of commuting to work and interacting with colleagues once they are there. According to the survey, 57% said employers should be allowed to require employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office.

According to Melnick, vaccination and immunity to the coronavirus are key to making workers feel safe in return. It will also depend on whether employees perceive themselves permanently in the office or not.

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