Return to office opinionsClick image to enlarge

While it’s certainly not top of mind while the Omicron variant rages across Canada, Canadian manufacturing’s leaders will eventually have to grapple with what the new normal should be for office staff.

Should they be called back to the office? Given the flexibility to continue working from home as they have for much of almost two years now? A hybrid of the two approaches.

It’s not an easy call but research from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute provides some insights on what Canadian employers can expect when they start calling staff back to a home office.

The study found a portion of Canadian workers so opposed to the idea of returning to work onsite many would quit their job over it.

Half of Canadian households had someone working from home over the past year (53%). Among those who continue to work from home, a considerable group (29%) would like to continue doing so in perpetuity, while the largest group would do a mix of both telecommuting and office work (44%). Only 27 per cent would prefer to return primarily to the office.

What would those Canadians who want to continue working from home do if they were asked to return to the office?

“This condition has the potential to create some tension in employer-employee relationships in the coming months. While two-in-five say they would return to work at the office full time without much issue, 25 per cent say they would go back begrudgingly and likely start looking for another job. One-in-five say they would lean toward quitting immediately,” the Angus Reid Institute study reveals.

Young people (ages 18 to 34) and men, in particular, say they are likely to reconsider their employment if such a demand is made of them. Fully half (50%) of 18-to-34-year-olds say this would be the case.

“The hybrid office will evidently be in high demand as Canadians return to their pre-pandemic activities with post-pandemic expectations,” the study concludes.

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