Half (52 per cent) of Canadian employees say their employer hasn’t communicated plans for remote working beyond 2023, while 35 per cent of employers say they’ve communicated at least some guidelines, according to a new survey by the Angus Reid Institute on behalf of Staples Canada.

The survey, which polled more than 1,000 workers and 500 employers from across Canada, found about a third (31 per cent) of employees are working fully remotely, while 34 per cent are working in a hybrid arrangement and another 34 per cent work primarily onsite. Half (52 per cent) of employees said they don’t expect major changes in their current balance of remote and in-office work over the next two years.

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Most employees with remote (68 per cent) or hybrid (66 per cent) working arrangements said they’re happy with their current arrangement, while those who aren’t happy with their arrangement said they prefer a mix of hybrid and remote working over returning to the office. Meanwhile, half (48 per cent) of employees working primarily onsite said it’s their preferred model.

The survey also found employees are more likely than employers to be very satisfied with a remote working arrangement (81 per cent compared to 68 per cent), while employers are happier than their employees with a primarily in-office working arrangement (62 per cent compared to 39 per cent).

Almost half (47 per cent) of employees and 42 per cent of employers said a hybrid working arrangement is a must-have option over the next two years, while just 30 per cent of employees and 21 per cent of employers expressed the same opinion regarding fully remote working arrangements. A third (34 per cent) of employees and just 22 per cent of employers said a four-day workweek is a must-have option.

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More than half (56 per cent) of employees said they’d be much less likely to accept a role that didn’t offer a fully or almost-fully remote working option, while 51 per cent said they’d likely turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible hours and 26 per cent said they wouldn’t accept a role that didn’t offer a four-day workweek.

Half (49 per cent) of employers said they’ve offered incentives to encourage employees to return to the office, including in-office perks (21 per cent), flexible hours (20 per cent), an improved office environment (19 per cent), improved social spaces (12 per cent), commuting stipends (seven per cent) and reducing workload to account for commuting time (six per cent).

And when asked about their concerns around returning to in-office work, employees and employers indicated the time spent commuting (72 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively), having less time in the day (72 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively) and commuting costs (68 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively).

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