In an effort to retain employees post-coronavirus pandemic, employers across the country are embracing remote working and signalling it’s here to stay, according to a new survey by the Business Development Bank of Canada.
The survey, which polled more than 700 small businesses and 2,000 workers, found 48 per cent of employee respondents who’ve switched jobs since the beginning of the pandemic said they factored remote working into their decision. And 55 per cent said they’d prefer to continue working from home as much or more than they do now.
As a result, 74 per cent of employers said they plan to keep offering their employees the ability to work from home even after the global pandemic officially ends. According to respondents, remote working brings many advantages, including flexible working hours (54 per cent), improved employee retention (35 per cent) and reduced operating costs (34 per cent). Likewise, employees also acknowledged remote working has its perks, with reduced commuting time (84 per cent), flexible working hours (62 per cent) and improved work-life balance (58 per cent) cited as among the biggest benefits.
While there are pros for employers and employees alike, the remote working setting also comes with some cons. Employers noted the main disadvantages are its impact on communication, interaction and collaboration (13 per cent), it isn’t applicable to all roles (11 per cent) and its impact on productivity and efficiency (nine per cent). Employees cited difficulty in interacting informally with colleagues (53 cent), increased screen fatigue (45 per cent) and the difficulty of not seeing colleagues at work (44 per cent) as the biggest drawbacks to remote working.
Nonetheless, 54 per cent of employees said access to remote work will be a determining factor when applying or accepting a job and 27 per cent of small- and medium-sized business employers said remote working gives them access to a bigger talent pool.
A separate survey found a fifth (21 per cent) of employees are planning to look for a new job in the coming months.
The Robert Half Canada Inc. poll found the top reasons are experiencing low morale and burnout (35 per cent), moving to contracting on a full-time basis (25 per cent) and growing and developing their skills (23 per cent).
Meanwhile, some employees haven’t waited until the coronavirus pandemic recedes to move on, as 13 per cent of the respondents said they’ve changed jobs since the start of the pandemic. And 10 per cent said they left their permanent positions to work full time on a contractual basis. Additionally, the majority (75 per cent) of surveyed employees said they’d leave a company whose values don’t align with their own.