Hybrid work model is here to stay in Canada, research finds

At a time when a lot of people are being forced to go back to the office, some just don’t want to.

New research from Robert Half, a Canadian HR consulting firm, finds 85 per cent of jobseekers it surveyed want either hybrid or fully remote options, only.

The firm says people like the flexibility, they’re more productive, they’re happier, and for the first time for many, they actually have some work-life balance in their careers.

“For employers, it’s allowing them to retain more people [or] attract more talent,” explained Trina Casey-Myatt, regional director for Robert Half. “For employers, I think it’s important to look at why are you asking your employees to come back to the office. Is there a purpose for it? Are there some positive results you’re looking for? Is it collaboration? And then as an employee, look at what your options are, what is important to you and does this still fit your lifestyle?”

She thinks over the next little while, management groups will need to sit down with their employees to find a happy medium.

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The research also found employees are also more flexible when it comes to salary if they’re given the option to work from home full-time.

“As an employer, that’s something to consider. I think as an employee, again, what is most important to you? Is it salary? And if it’s salary then maybe being required to be in the office might be something you’re going to have to do. If you have a little more flexibility on your salary but being remote is more important, then that might be something you can negotiate with your employer,” Casey-Myatt added.

She says their research also found that people believe getting tasks accomplished can be more efficient when they’re in the office and around their teammates. “It is nice to get a change too. Getting together in person certainly engages in a bit of a different way.”

However, one concern that was highlighted was people who work from home worry their careers won’t advance as quickly as those who are in the office.

“As an employee, if remote is something that’s really important to you but advancement in your career still is, we would certainly recommend you ask to have regular career discussions with your manager. Let them know some of your concerns, where your goals are, and what you truly want to achieve with the organization,” she said.

We hit the streets of Vancouver to find out what people think, as returning to the office scales up.

One woman CityNews spoke to prefers working at home, explaining that she has “more time to do my work. I don’t have to wake up early and I have more time to prepare my food whenever I want.”

One man works in healthcare research and says he works two days a week at home and the rest in the office.

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“I think the transition has been pretty good because I like interacting in person with my co-workers and I get a lot more done when I’m in person. Hybrid is nice because there’s a little flexibility for, if I have to run errands or something, then I can leave work earlier and be able to get on with my life.”

Another woman works full-time in her office. “Previously, I was doing both, but I like working in the office because I get all the amenities like stand-up desk, photocopier — everything is there.”

CityNews spoke to others who say it helps to be at home for childcare purposes or if they have meetings all day.

Theresa Zeller is a manager in the IT space and has been doing the hybrid work model for the past year.

She says she doesn’t miss the commute on the days she’s at home. She likes the idea of being able to attend any appointments she may have but adds there appears to be a disconnect between people who are in-house.

“It’s almost like you miss out on those side conversations or the things that happen after the meeting ends and so you have to be a lot more on top of building those connections and networks.”

She’s happy with her company and says if she was forced back full-time, she would do it, she says as she rolls her eyes. “It’s a dealbreaker for some people for sure, but because a lot of companies are opening up the hybrid work. They have way more options now than they did before.”

Zeller’s advice to anyone who isn’t happy with their current set-up is to be an advocate for themselves to get what they want.

With files from Shawn Ayers

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