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Half of Canadian office workers want to work remotely, says poll

The poll found 40% of Canadian office workers would abandon their jobs under a back-to-office mandate.
frustrated office worker
The Amazon-commissioned survey comes amid a big shift in back to the office mandates as Canadian jurisdictions emerge from the COVID-19 Omicron wave and weigh the benefits of office life. 

Put on a pot of coffee, take the dog for the walk, maybe even indulge in a workday without donning a pair of pants — these are some of the perks of working remotely, a paradigm half of Canadian office workers now say is their ideal scenario, according to a new poll. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, work-life balance has been upended for millions of people across the globe. And while office workers have not borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, the disruption has them favouring permanent change. 

“It's clear that the role that the physical office plays in the day-to-day work and satisfaction of employees has changed dramatically during the pandemic,” said Amazon Business Canada country manager Nick Georgijev in a prepared statement. 

“We're not going back to how things were before, and businesses need to adjust to the many operational realities that come with that.” 

According to the Amazon Business Return to Office Report, released Thursday, only a quarter of Canadian office workers prefer a workweek either mostly or entirely in the office. Meanwhile, roughly 40 per cent say they would abandon their job if they were forced to work in the office full-time.

And in a job search, 55 per cent said “they would be less likely” to take a position if the company had a full-time office work policy. 

The survey comes amid a big shift toward in-person work mandates as Canadian jurisdictions emerge from the COVID-19 Omicron wave and companies weigh the benefits of office life.

Before Omicron, only half of Canadian office workers had returned to work, though that number climbed to 60 per cent in British Columbia, where more office workers had returned than any other jurisdiction in the country. 

When the variant triggered a series of new public health measures, one-third of Canadian office workers who had already returned to the office said back-to-office plans were put on hold, according to the poll.

Today, the poll found 57 per cent of office workers in Canada would prefer either a split between remote and office work, or to work almost entirely off-site.

The survey, which was carried out by the Angus Reid Forum in December 2021 and February 2022, polled nearly 1,600 Canadian office workers who had transitioned to remote work during the pandemic. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. 

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