About 4.7 million Canadians who don’t usually work from home did so during the week of March 22, according to a new survey by Statistics Canada.
When also including those who usually work from home, its March labour force survey, which polled 4,600 people in 10 provinces, found 39 per cent of workers (or 6.8 million) worked from home during that week. About the same number (38.5 per cent or 6.7 million) worked at locations other than home. In addition, 22 per cent (or 3.9 million) were absent from their jobs, with 2.8 million absent for reasons related to the coronavirus.
The survey also found those who don’t normally work from home but did so during the week of March 22 were much more likely to have a bachelor’s degree or higher (58 per cent) compared to those who’d continued to work outside the home (21.5 per cent) and those absent from work (27 per cent).
Among Canadians who reported they didn’t normally work from home but did so during the week of March 22, 40 per cent live with a child under the age of 18 and likely experienced new challenges in balancing their work and family life.
Despite these findings, these workers were just as likely to report having good, very good or excellent mental health as those who usually work from home and those who continued to work at locations other than home. Statistics Canada also found little difference between these groups in terms of the level of concern with family stress from confinement.
Employment declined by more than one million between February to March, and a further 2.1 million Canadians remained employed but worked less than half their usual hours, including zero hours, during the week of March 15 to 21, noted the survey. In addition, 2.8 million workers were absent from their job for reasons related to the coronavirus, including temporary layoffs.