As the COVID-19 pandemic marks its second anniversary, half of Canadian office workers have yet to return to their cubicles or corner offices – and many hope that’s the case for good. Only one in eight (12%) say that working entirely at their physical workplace is their ideal working scenario moving forward, and more than two in five (43%) Canadian office workers say they would be likely to look for a new job if their current employer mandated they return to the office full time.
The findings of the Amazon Business Return to Office Report, a survey of nearly 1,600 Canadian office workers conducted among members of the online Angus Reid Forum on behalf of Amazon Business, showed that only half of Canadian office workers that had shifted to remote work due to the pandemic had returned to working from their office before the Omicron wave struck in late 2021. One-third (31%) of those that had returned said Omicron sent them back to working exclusively from home/remotely, while another 29% said it increased the amount of time they worked away from the office.
“It’s clear that the role that the physical office plays in the day-to-day work and satisfaction of employees has changed dramatically during the pandemic. We’re not going back to how things were before, and businesses need to adjust to the many operational realities that come with that,” says Nick Georgijev, Country Manager for Amazon Business Canada. “Canadian employers will need to consider not just how and when to bring their employees back to the office, but if they should... and how to set that talent up for success from anywhere if they don’t return entirely.”
Impact of In-Office Expectations on Talent Retention and Attraction
Expectations around in-office versus remote are likely to be a big factor in the ability of Canadian employers to keep their best employees happy and in how they bring top talent aboard to fill new roles.
According to the Report, nearly three in five (57%) Canadian office workers say they would prefer to either split their time equally between in-office and remote (27%) or work mostly remotely (3+ days per week – 30%). Convincing those workers to change their mind could prove costly, as those polled say salary increases, more flexible work hours, longer vacations and better benefits are the top four incentives that would entice them to return to working in office full time.
Replacing those workers could be even more challenging, as more than half (55%) say they would be less likely to accept a job with a new employer if the company mandated full-time work from the office. In fact, flexible work hours and the ability to work remotely were amongst the top five important factors Canadian office workers look for in a new job – more important than workplace culture, opportunities for growth, advancement or training and development, and in-office perks.
Other notable findings from the survey included:
“Employers need to reconsider everything about their physical working spaces to meet the changing demands of their current and future workforce. That includes everything from their real estate footprint to procurement to technology and supplies,” adds Georgijev. “Those that adapt best and quickest will have a strong advantage, particularly if they provide their teams the means to thrive while working remotely.”
Amazon Business helps Canadian organizations of all sizes meet a wide range of procurement needs with features and benefits that simplify their processes and help increase efficiency. It also provides access to features that make shopping for work easy and convenient, including Business Prime, quantity discounts, and helpful spend reports to better understand, manage, and grow their business. Amazon Business also makes it easy for small businesses selling on Amazon to reach new customers across the country, as customers have access to the over 40,000 small businesses selling on Amazon.ca.
About the Survey
The Amazon Business Return to Office Report was conducted in two waves, in December 2021 and February 2022. A survey was completed from December 12-16, 2021, among members of the online Angus Reid Forum, with a sample of 1,595 employed Canadians who transitioned to remote work at some point during the pandemic. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The survey was offered in both English and French. From February 11-14, a second survey of 423 such Canadians was completed in order to examine the impact of the Omicron wave on return-to-office plans. For comparison purposes, a probable sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Both surveys were offered in English or French.
About Amazon Business
Amazon Business helps millions of customers worldwide—from small businesses, schools, hospitals, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, to large enterprises with global operations—reshape their procurement with cost and time savings, greater productivity, and insightful purchasing analytics. Procurement and business leaders enjoy convenient shipping options on hundreds of millions of supplies across categories like office, IT, janitorial, food service, and professional medical supplies. Customers also have access to a variety of business-tailored features and benefits, including a curated site experience, Business Prime, business-only pricing and selection, single- or multi-user business accounts, approvals workflow, purchasing system integrations, payment solutions, VAT invoicing tools, dedicated customer support, and more. Amazon Business is currently available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and India. For more information, visit www.business.amazon.ca.
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