As lockdown restrictions begin to lift and companies co-ordinate their return-to-work processes, more than half (55 per cent) of Canadian employees said they’d prefer to work from home more frequently, while 41 per cent agreed the era of the 9-to-5 workday is now over, according to a new survey by multinational software company Citrix Systems Inc.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Canadian office workers only worked from home an average of 2.89 days a month, with seven per cent of respondents reporting they never worked from home. Indeed, employers will have to rethink their traditional work models: 62 per cent of employee respondents said they consider the office a place mainly for exchange and collaboration and 42 per cent want to see more flexible-working models that allow them to switch between the office and their home.

Read: Remote working, distributed workforces could be part of new normal post-coronavirus

“Upon the return to work, company leaders will need to rethink the purpose of the workplace and re-evaluate how they are measuring employee productivity,” said Ed Rodriguez, general manager and vice-president of Citrix Canada, in a press release. “A shift needs to happen where work is no longer viewed as a place you go to, but rather a thing you do from wherever you feel most productive, with clear goals being met — whether it be at the office or at home. Employees have proven that they can be productive working remotely and can be trusted to get their jobs done.”

In the light of the current pandemic, 61 per cent of Canadian respondents said they consider the home office, if equipped with the proper technology, on par with working in an office. Less than a fifth (19 per cent) of all survey participants said they’re currently using software and tools on their work computers that hasn’t been approved by their employer’s information technology department. The tools accounting for the largest shares include video conferencing software (50 per cent), personal devices (43 per cent) and instant messengers (42 per cent).

But even beyond technology, Citrix noted the effects of the crisis on corporate culture shouldn’t be underestimated as more home office usage is expected to improve the employer/employee relationship. Among all survey respondents, 37 per cent said they believe flexible-working models and remote work will improve the company culture. Further, 44 per cent said they believe their company will have more of a digital culture and will embrace new technologies rapidly to better serve the workforce.

Read: Editorial: Employers, flex your flexible working muscles

The survey also found 29 per cent of employees now hope a strengthened trust and increased autonomy between employer and employee will be maintained, if not increased, after the crisis. More than half (58 per cent) said they think there will be a better understanding of the human factor in the workplace, while 31 per cent agreed the pandemic experience will help soften established corporate hierarchies.

“This crisis should serve as a wake-up call to leaders,” said Rodriguez. “As almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of employees believe the home office now rivals the actual office in terms of technological capability and accessibility, now is the time to rethink how we best use our physical workplaces. Implementing long-term changes that work better for the workforce at large can create a working world that is both more effective and more agile, with technology empowering workers to be as successful and productive as possible, wherever and whenever they’re working.”

Read: Five workplace changes that should stay post-coronavirus

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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