Post-pandemic, 77 per cent of Canadians want the flexibility to work in the office and remotely, according to a recent KPMG survey. Meanwhile, 71 per cent of respondents believe a hybrid workplace, or hybrid office, should be the standard model for all organizations.

The KPMG study found, however, that Canadians have concerns about how this reinvention of the workplace will be handled by their employers. Eighty-one per cent expressed concern that their bosses aren't prepared nor equipped to manage hybrid workplace models, while 49 per cent feel they could be overlooked for promotions or face discrimination if they wanted to continue working from home.

Uncharted territory

"Although the novelty of everyone working remotely for months on end has worn off, Canadians definitely crave the flexibility to stay at home or go into the office when required," says Doron Melnick, partner and national leader of KPMG's People and Change practice. "It's equally clear that Canadians have a lot of concerns about how that will work. For many organizations, it's uncharted territory. But, the risks can be addressed with supports, such as training, technology, guidelines, and policies."

Concerns about safety

When it comes to returning to the office, Canadians remain concerned about contracting COVID-19 variants. Seventy-two per cent are reluctant to take public transportation and 59 per cent remain worried about travelling for work within the province, Canada, or abroad. 

The biggest worry about returning to the workplace for Canadians is the risk that that they will contract the disease from colleagues coming to work sick or asymptotic. Harris says that the KPMG poll shows Canadians are looking for some degree of assurance from their employers that their workplace is safe. Fifty-four per cent of those surveyed want their employer to require vaccine passports and nearly six in 10 think employers should have the right to demand staff be vaccinated before entering the workplace.