Return to office… now

As Labour Day fades from sight in the rearview mirror, more Canadian employers are telling, not asking, employees to return to the office for at least a few days of the week. 

Driving the news: Among Canadians with hybrid work setups, about 60% are fully remote, down from 75% earlier this year, per a report from Indeed. With the summer holiday season over and businesses looking to start fresh for the fall, that number is poised to fall even further.

  • Employers are insisting that days in the office will build communication and increase productivity, and a few studies have found that at least some workers are less productive at home.

  • Employees, on the other hand, report higher levels of happiness since ditching their commute, citing improved mental health, flexibility, and, yes, even productivity.   

Zoom out: The RTO wave is sweeping Canada’s tech industry—an early proponent of remote work—following RTO pushes from US Big Tech counterparts Amazon and Meta. 

  • “We are seeing the majority of roles that we have posted right now are hybrid and have a city attached to them,” April Hicke, co-founder of tech talent organization Toast, told The Canadian Press, “[The shift is] very, very quick and very dramatic.”

Yes, but: Other data shows that employers and employees might not be so far apart on the RTO issue after all. 

  • A Robert Half Canada report found that 54% of hiring managers prefer to have a hybrid work arrangement versus 49% of employees, which is not a massive gap.

  • Another survey of nearly 300 Canadian employers by Colliers found that 55% of them were done tinkering with their remote work policies. 

Why it matters: Hybrid work isn't going anywhere, and striking the right balance between time in and out of the office has turned into a pressing issue for Canadian businesses.—QH