Almost four-out-of-five Canadians say they like working from home much more than working in the office, according to a survey and report released by the Future Skills Centre on Thursday.
The survey, conducted by Environics Institute for Survey Research, found 78 per cent of respondents prefer working from home, which is a 64 per cent increase since December 2020.
In early 2022, almost one in two employed Canadians worked from home at least some days. Working from home due to the pandemic was more common among people working in office or clerical positions or who are professionals or executives, those with a university education, and those earning higher incomes.
Most respondents said working from home has a positive impact on their mental health.
Canadians from 18 to 29 (45 per cent), 30 to 44 (33 per cent) and 45 to 54 (30 per cent), respectively, all report their mental health is fair to poor while working in the office.
Younger workers are the most likely to say remote work has a positive impact on their mental health, with 51 per cent of respondents saying they feel excellent or very good while staying at home.
The survey found people who head into their workplace regularly are “somewhat more likely to report poorer mental health than those who have been working remotely.”
The survey also provides evidence that some workers have begun to choose jobs that offer the possibility of working from home, or to reorganize their lives to take advantage of new possibilities offered by remote work. Slightly more than one in ten workers say that, since the start of the pandemic, they have changed jobs and found a new job that is easier for them to do while working from home. And about one in ten have moved to a different community because they now have the option to work from home. These choices are more common for younger workers and those working part-time, and less common for those who are more settled in their careers. They are also more common for those who identify as Indigenous, and for those with a disability that occasionally limits their activity.
“New work arrangements and workplace policies should be developed with an eye to addressing both long-standing and emerging forms of inequity,” the report stated.
“At the same time, employers should question why so many workers are reluctant to return to the workplace, and why younger workers who do report poorer mental health than those who continue to work from home.”
Many Canadians are even taking advantage of remote work by moving to locations.
According to the survey, 23 per cent of individuals say since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic they have moved to another community because they have the option to work remotely.
This option is more common among younger Canadians, with 47 per cent of individuals aged 18 to 34 reporting they have changed cities while continuing to work from home.
It’s much less common for older Canadians, with only 31.6 per cent of individuals aged 35 to 44 and 8.2 per cent of workers aged 45 to 54, leaving their community amid remote work.
FUTURE OF REMOTE WORK
Most surveyed individuals (42 per cent), who have been working from home, would like to continue being remote almost every day, while 25 per cent would like to only go into the office two or three days a week.
Only 11 per cent of respondents would want to work remotely one or two days out of a month once the pandemic is over.
The fourth wave of the study consists of a survey of 6,604 Canadians age 18 and over, conducted between March 1 and April 18, 2022, in all provinces and territories. It was conducted both online (in the provinces) and by telephone (in the territories). This wave of the survey includes oversamples of Canadians living in smaller provinces and territories, those under the age of 34, racialized Canadians and Canadians who identify as Indigenous, in order to provide a better portrait of the range of experiences across the country. The survey results in this report are weighted by age, gender, region, education, racial identity and Indigenous identity, to ensure that they are representative of the Canadian population as whole.