BDC, the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs, released a new report today that examines the perception of remote work among Canadian businesses and employees, after more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey revealed that even when it is safe to return to the office, upwards of 74% of entrepreneurs plan to keep offering their employees the ability to work remotely.
The report, entitled What’s next for remote work? Views of Canadian businesses and employees surveyed more than 700 small businesses and 2,000 Canadian workers in February and March of this year to discover how they view the rise of remote work.
Findings, BDC said, revealed that remote work will play a key role in employment with 54% of employees saying that access to remote work will be a determining factor when applying or accepting a job, and 27% of small and medium-sized business employers saying that remote work gives them access to a bigger talent pool.
“For more than a year, many Canadian entrepreneurs have pivoted to remote work to limit the spread of the virus,” said Pierre Cleroux, the organization’s vice president of research and chief economist. “Our findings show that for most businesses, the benefits are so important that they want to keep offering it even once the pandemic is over.”
BDC noted in a release that the proportion of SMEs with at least half of their employees doing remote work has doubled, from 21% pre-pandemic to 42%. The average number of days that employees worked remotely was 3.9 per week in March.
The report also looked at the perceived benefits and disadvantages of remote work for both employers and employees.
For employers, the main advantages are flexible working hours (54%), improved employee retention (35%) and reduced operating costs (34%).
The primary disadvantages are its impact on communication, interaction and collaboration (13%), the fact that it is not applicable to all roles (11%) and its impact on productivity and efficiency (9%).
For employees, meanwhile, the main advantages are the reduced commuting time (84%), flexible working hours (62%) and improved life balance (58%).
The main disadvantages are the difficulty to interact informally with colleagues (53%), increased screen fatigue (45%) and the difficulty of not seeing colleagues at work (44%).
“The impact of the shift towards telework should not be underestimated,” Cleroux said. “Remote work can give employers the opportunity to hire qualified candidates they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, especially in a tight labour market.”
Additional information is available at bdc.ca/remotework.