Canadians managers and employees are interested in a hybrid WFH arrangement. Mental health, and the impact on team collaboration and creativity, are top concerns managers and employees alike would have if permanently working from home.

EDMONTON, Alberta, Feb. 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --


  • A survey of 624 Canadian workers who are working from home, and a survey of 301 Canadian managers has provided insight on the workplace of the future:
    • Managers and employees are both highly interested in making work from home or hybrid arrangements permanent, but many don’t expect that organizations will go along with this desire.
    • Many workers are interested in remote work in their next job, but if few organizations are likely to hire far from where they are located, the supply of remote workers may outweigh the demand.
    • Mental health and the impact on team collaboration and creativity are top concerns managers and employees alike would have if permanently working from home.
    • In the long-term, the work from home experience during the pandemic does not necessarily indicate the end of the downtown core but does indicate a growing need for larger home footprints and amenities close to residential areas.

Canadian managers and employees are aligned regarding wanting a hybrid work arrangement in the future
Most Canadian employees are enjoying their current work from home experience (63%). Once the pandemic is over, the vast majority would be interested in a permanent hybrid arrangement (i.e., working from home at least some days of the week) (77%). Among those interested in this arrangement, one quarter would even entertain a pay-cut to have access to what is perceived to be a benefit. Only 1 in 10 (11%) would choose to always work at the workplace.

Most managers feel effective managing a remote team (75%) and would be interested in a hybrid arrangement themselves, if given the option. Managers are aligned with their employees’ desire to work from home and would prefer to have two thirds of their teams permanently working in a hybrid WFH arrangement (41%) or always working from home (22%).

However, organizations have the final say and remote worker supply may outweigh the demand
About half of managers (51%) and employees (55%) believe they will be called back to work at their workplace full-time once the pandemic is over, and nearly all employees would comply (90%). More long term, half of employees would consider applying for remote positions for their next career move (49%), but few managers believe their organizations will be willing to hire remote staff from anywhere in the country (21%).

While WFH permanently may not be available for many, flexible hours is a trend that will likely outlive the pandemic
If working from the workplace after the pandemic, half of employees would be interested in more flexible hours and in a shorter work week, to make working from the office more appealing.

Many managers say their organization is open to granting flexible working hours to their team members (40%) and would, accordingly, shift their management approach to focus more on productivity than on hours worked (34%). A shorter week is much less likely to happen, as only 11% of managers say that their organization would be likely to consider it.

Mental health concerns regarding permanent WFH arrangements are shared among both managers and employees
While many managers say their own wellbeing has improved due to working from home during the pandemic (42%), just as many are concerned about managing it if the arrangement becomes permanent (45%). Managers are also concerned about the mental health of their team members, with fewer saying that their team’s sense of wellbeing has improved (26%) than that it has worsened (31%) due to working from home. In fact, boosting employees’ mental health (58%) and keeping their morale elevated (56%) top the list of managers’ concerns if their teams work from home permanently.

Employees, on the other hand, are divided about their mental health if permanently working from home in the future, with nearly the same proportions believing it would improve (36%) or worsen (30%). While most believe their connection with their families and work/life balance would improve (53% and 51%, respectively), nearly as many are concerned about feeling lonely and socially isolated under a permanent WFH arrangement (52%), which could impact their mental health.

Creativity and collaboration may also suffer with a permanent WFH arrangement
Even though not many managers are concerned about the quality of the work produced by their team if working from home permanently, many are concerned about creating collaboration opportunities (54%) and finding effective ways to communicate (43%).

Many employees are also concerned about the quality of communication (44%) and level of knowledge sharing with their peers (43%), as well as with the limited opportunities for creative collaboration (41%). These may worsen team working relationships.

In the long term, the WFH experience does not spell an end to the downtown office, but does underscore a growing need for larger living quarters and amenities near home
As organizations consider the possibility of a permanently remote workforce, thought needs to be given to what will happen to the workspace. Based on managers’ perceptions, plans to adapt the current workspace (30%) or move into shared spaces (30%) are much more likely than relocation to a more affordable area (12%) or complete workspace closure (6%).

Employees are also reconsidering their home workspace. Some employees, particularly those located in urban areas, would consider either a renovation (29%) or a move to a larger home (20%) so they can have a dedicated work area, if permanently working from home. They plan to be more physically active (67% walking more and 33% biking more) and to consider visiting restaurants, coffee shops, shops and entertainment venues (55%) around their home under those circumstances.

About Advanis
Advanis is a privately owned Canadian market and social research firm founded in 1990 and known for its innovation and responsiveness. Advanis engages with key stakeholders to deliver research-based insights and advice that help our clients make sound, fact-based decisions about their most crucial marketing, business, and public policy issues.

We serve clients in private and public sectors, focusing on customer experience, product design, pricing, and social research. We offer a comprehensive suite of research services (quantitative, qualitative, and analytics).

For other recent survey publications:

Headquarters: Edmonton, Alberta
Other locations: Waterloo, Montréal
President: Michael Williams
Ownership: Privately owned
Employees: 50 Full time

Survey Methodology
An online survey of 925 Canadians and 905 Americans (U.S.), all adults whose jobs can be performed from home and who are currently working from home during the pandemic, was conducted by Advanis from January 18th-26th, 2021. Details are available upon request.

Canadian participants – 624 employees and 301 managers – were recruited using our General Population Random Sample by SMS and completed the survey online. National results for employees accurate to within +/- 3.9%, 19 times out of 20. National results for managers accurate to within +/- 5.6%, 19 times out of 20. Margin of error is wider among subsets of the population.

Advanis is a member of the Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC) and confirms that this research fully complies with all CRIC Standards including the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements.

Contact Information

Anu Bhalla
SVP Business Development

Follow Advanis on social media:
@AdvanisInsights on Twitter
Advanis on LinkedIn