Most Canadians would rather quit than return to the office full time

24 March 2022 2 min. read
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Most Canadian employees currently working remotely (53%) would look for a new job with remote options if their company required a return to the office five days a week, according to a report from Robert Half. The recruitment and HR advisory firm surveyed 500 professionals in Canada in March 2022 and 800 senior managers in November and December 2021.

Workers’ appreciation of remote work could be a sticky wicket for employers, who are eager to hustle employees back into offices. Fifty-five percent of senior managers said they want their teams to work on-site full time as Covid restrictions ease, while 44% support long-term hybrid schedules.

Employees have developed a strong appreciation for remote work, with the amount willing to quit over its rescindment increasing by 20 points from last year to reach 53% today. Millennial professionals (68%) and working parents (59%) are even likelier to quit to keep an at least partially remote and flexible schedule.

Are workers ready to return to the office?

Employees know they have a certain degree of leverage in the matter. The labour market, especially for skilled workers in digital and technical fields, is exceptionally tight. Many employers don’t have the ability to make exceptional demands as the Great Resignation persists. Forty-eight million Americans quit their jobs in 2021, with a still-elevated 4.3 million resigning in January 2022.

According to a recent Willis Towers Watson report, more than half of US workers (53%) are open to leaving their employers, while 44% have been actively looking for a new job. The top reasons for quitting are higher pay, better benefits, more job security, and flexible work arrangements.

Barring exceptional collusion within industries and functions, there will be companies willing to offer at least hybrid arrangements to poach scarce talent.

“It's clear professionals want continued flexibility in where and how they work — however, some companies appear to be out of sync with their employees' priorities as they plan for the future," said David King, Canadian senior managing director of Robert Half. "In today's tight talent market, eliminating remote work options will only make hiring and retention more challenging. Employers need to move past the idea that collaboration and innovation only happen in the office and recognize that people are more engaged and motivated when they have a say in where they work."