A majority of Canadian employees want minimal commuting and flexible work arrangements post-coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey by Angus Reid on behalf of IWG.

Two-thirds (68 per cent) of respondents said they want their commute to be no longer than 30 minutes each way, with 31 per cent preferring a commute of no more than 15 minutes. These respondents would prefer to work at home (22 per cent), at an office close to home (27 per cent) or adopt a hybrid work model (39 per cent) involving a mix of working from home, a local office and occasionally at corporate headquarters. Only 12 per cent said they like the idea of a commute longer than 15 minutes.

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Almost a third (29 per cent) said they’d look for another job if required to work in the office five days a week. This opinion was felt most strongly among respondents aged 25 to 44 (34 per cent), nine percentage points higher than those aged 55 and older. Respondents said the perks of a shorter commute include more time to prepare healthy meals (76 per cent), exercise (71 per cent) and spend time with their children (89 per cent), as well as less money spent on clothing (61 per cent) and increased opportunities to support local businesses for the first time (47 per cent).

Wayne Berger, chief executive officer for the Americas at IWG, says 77 per cent of employers surveyed are looking at hybrid work arrangements, driven in large part by employee demand and increased levels of engagement and productivity resulting from remote work amid the pandemic.

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“That doesn’t just mean working from home. Working from home is proven to have its benefits but there’s also a fatigue of only being able to work from home. . . . Prior to the pandemic, flexibility and hybrid working were growing at a dramatic pace. Over 50 per cent of workers globally were working from somewhere other than a traditional corporate office for at least two days a week. What’s happening now is the whole movement towards flexibility is becoming a requirement for organizations.”

For managers, flexible working arrangements will also shift the focus from team members’ time spent in the office to actions and results, he says. “It’s going to be about what needs to be accomplished that day and if an employee needs to put their head down to work effectively, maybe they work from home that day.

“When it comes to innovation, strategy and the redeployment of resources, it’ll challenge managers to think differently. Companies — more than ever before — are going to need to become results-based organizations. They’ll have to ask themselves what matters most among their performers, how they recognize success and drive accountability knowing that it’s not about time spent in the office, it’s about achieving goals.”

Read: Employers have role in mitigating stress of daily commute: survey