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News   April 1, 2022   by Adam Malik

Go back to the office? What most would rather do

Most senior managers in Canada want staff back in the office. And many Canadians would rather quit and look for a new job than being forced back to a physical workspace.

The findings come from a pair of studies done by human resources staffing firm Robert Half. In a survey of 800 senior managers, 55 per cent said they want their teams on-site full time to work as COVID-19-related restrictions ease. That’s nearly unchanged from a similar survey the firm conducted a year ago.

Meanwhile, a survey of 500 Canadian professionals found that 53 per cent of those already working from home would start the search for a new job that offers remote options if their current employer required them to return to the office five days a week. That’s up 20 percentage points from last year. Millennial professionals (68 per cent) and working parents (59 per cent) said they’re most likely to quit if called back.

“It’s clear professionals want continued flexibility in where and how they work — however, some companies appear to be out of sync with their employees’ priorities as they plan for the future,” said David King, Canadian senior managing director of Robert Half. “In today’s tight talent market, eliminating remote work options will only make hiring and retention more challenging. Employers need to move past the idea that collaboration and innovation only happen in the office and recognize that people are more engaged and motivated when they have a say in where they work.”

Robert Half also reported that 44 per cent of senior managers support long-term hybrid schedules (where staff can divide time between the office and another location) and employees’ ability to choose where they work. Managers at large companies with 1,000 or more employees (54 per cent) are most open to flexibility.

The company offered some tips to embrace a flexible work model:

  • Define hybrid: Determine if employees will be required to come to the office certain days each week or only for specific purposes, such as for training or team building?
  • Improve onboarding: As you hire remote employees, consider how to make them feel welcome, supported and part of a team they may never meet in person.
  • Have the right technology: Support effective communication and collaboration. Consider new tools to implement to create a seamless experience for onsite and remote staff.
  • Business process impact: Anticipate problems, adjust workflows and ensure everyone has access to the resources they need.
  • Build and maintain engagement and morale: Create equal opportunities for all employees to grow and develop, network and build authentic relationships with colleagues.


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