Workers want a flexible future at work. What do employers want?

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Over the past 12 months, Noah Arney has changed jobs, moved provinces, and returned to office.

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In doing so, he has benefited from both office life and home-based work – when he started his new job in Kamloops, BC.

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“I was able to change jobs in January without having to move my family — and if you’ve ever been to Calgary in January, that’s a good thing not to do,” said Arnie, a career development professional who actually moved to Christ months later. went to the east.

Now, Ernie is working in an office again and it suits him too, as he makes new connections and accelerates to his new job.

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“It’s been a strange experience, but I’ve really enjoyed it,” Arnie said.

Across Canada, employers are trying to figure out what is best for their organizations in the post-pandemic era, in terms of how they will scale up their work arrangements and how it will affect employees.

Yet employers are under pressure to embrace a more flexible future, and it seems that some of the larger organizations are listening.

more flexibility

At Microsoft Canada, the future is expected to be different for its more than 4,000 Canadian employees.

“We believe extreme flexibility and hybrid work will define the post-pandemic workplace,” Microsoft spokeswoman Lisa Gibson told businesshala News via email.

Gibson said Microsoft was equipped for remote work before COVID-19 and that some of its employees sometimes worked outside the office. But she said the pandemic saw an “overwhelming majority” work from home full time.

As the pandemic eases and the company fully reopens its operations, most employees will be able to work from home at least half the time – and they won’t need managerial approval to do so.

The technical sector is where most of the work can be done remotely. People looking for those jobs know this, and many of them want that flexibility.

Karen Egulnik, a senior account manager at Toronto-based ARES Staffing Solutions, says hybrids have become a “buzzword,” especially in the IT sector. But other areas have a mix of positions with varying suitability for remote work arrangements.

Alberta’s ATB Financial has had a mix of arrangements during the pandemic.

Employees working in branches have continued to work on site – albeit with necessary COVID-era adjustments – while employees whose roles could be performed remotely were asked to work from home.

For corporate team members who are still working at home, the goal is to spend more time in the office by mid-January.

In an emailed statement, ATB’s chief public officer, Tara Lockyer, said that the financial institution, which employs more than 5,000 people, has at least some time off office work for members of its corporate team. Have “a strong desire” to do.

Who has control?

Yu-Ping Chen, an associate professor in the department of management at Concordia University in Montreal, believes there are many disadvantages to working from home – and in his view, they outweigh the advantages.

Negatives include the distraction and fatigue from working online for long hours, the blurring of the lines between work and home life, as well as the pressure of being responsive to the demands of work outside of office hours.

Meanwhile, Chen said, employers are “feeling a loss of control” among the redistributed, home-based workforce.

And with millions of Canadians now working from home, it is clear that regaining that control may face some pushback from employees.

“Some of them … are just used to working from home,” said Chen, who predicts that some part of the workforce will never return to the office, even after the pandemic.

not the same at home

Working from home is not a problem for Agulnik, an experienced recruiter.

But she thinks it’s a different story when it comes to training newcomers, as they require more individual attention.

Young people taking their first steps in their careers are the same people Arnie works with as career services coordinators.

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From what they’ve seen, it appears that incoming recruits don’t seem to have “a certain preference” of sorts for working from home or in an office.

But they are weighing the benefits of being in the office at a crucial time in their working lives.

“I think a lot of them really want to have those one-to-one, in-person interactions,” Arnie said, adding that a lot of learning happens in the workplace during informal, face-to-face interactions.

“But the pandemic is not over and I think they are very aware of it.”

hear feedback

At Click Health, a health marketing company that employs more than 1,000 people in Canada and the United States, most employees are still working from home.

That balance is changing slightly, as a limited number of employees have voluntarily returned to work in person.

look | Career Impact of WFH:

“More and more people are choosing to come into the office, especially to collaborate on projects,” the company’s chief public officer, Glenn Zuzu, told businesshala News in an emailed statement.

Zuzu said internal surveys indicated that at least 35 percent of Cliq’s employees are not yet “quite ready” to return to work in person, while “many” want to eventually return to the office.

The company will soon begin listening sessions to “dig deeper into these areas.”

ATB Financial’s Lockyer said there is a recognition that some jobs may be better done in a remote setting, while other types of work “require greater collaboration and interaction.,,

To this end, the company is talking to its leaders and team members to understand “where the work is best done.”

At Microsoft, Gibson said the company is listening that workers want to be able to collaborate more directly with their colleagues, but also want to retain their remote work capabilities.

“We refer to this trend as the hybrid work paradox — whereby employees want the flexibility and ease of personal collaboration, along with the flexibility of remote work,” Gibson said.

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