Employees across many industries have had their taste of remote work since the onset of the pandemic. Most offices have issued their return to work notices, and re-integrated pre-pandemic operations strategies and procedures back into the company structure.
The problem is, that workers have had a taste of more flexible employment arrangements, and many employers remain hesitant to adopt flexible or hybrid remote working models for their employees. There is a case to be made for hybrid work models. Particularly with the skyrocketing costs of fuel, and increasingly stagnant wages; time is money, and employees are looking for other kinds of compensation.
The option to work remotely removes barriers for people living with mobility challenges or disabilities, provides a time-saving incentive for employees not having to commute every workday, and is often a consideration for parents, and people acting in caregiver roles within their homes. When it comes to the future of remote and hybrid work options, most people agree the goal is not to never work in the office again. In fact, according to a PwC study, even though there is a growing preference for remote work year over year, in 2021, only 15 per cent of participating Canadians indicated a preference for working exclusively remotely. The division of professional and personal boundaries remains a priority for many employees seeking to achieve a better work/life balance.
In this way, it is clear the demand for remote work options isn’t a monolith; there is certainly a wide range of factors pertaining to the issue, which vary based on personal circumstances. Rather, it is the option to work remotely, within industries which allow it, that has become a point of consideration for employees, and job seekers alike
Of course, some industries require the daily presence of employees in order to meet the needs of the business, but there are plenty of knowledge-based work which can be performed anywhere. More than ever, employees and job seekers are weighing their options and yearning for flexibility.
Twenty-five per cent of respondents in the PwC study expressed their ideal work environment would be mostly remote work, 25 per cent reported they would prefer the option to work remotely half of the time, 17 per cent reported their ideal working arrangement to be mostly in the office, and 18 per cent reported a preference to working exclusively in-office. The overwhelming majority of respondents indicated a preference for at least the option to work remotely some of the time, and with the precedent set during the pandemic, it is likely this desire for more flexible working arrangements will not dissipate any time soon.
According to PwC’s findings, “leaders will need to proceed with caution to meet the needs of a diverse talent pool and avoid painting the workforce with a single, biased stroke,” as employees continue to weigh their options and compensation packages in ways beyond nominal salaries.