Canadian Manufacturing

Canadian employers are struggling to attract people back to the workplace, shows Unispace study

by CM staff   

Manufacturing Operations Research & Development Public Sector Canadian employers Unispace study workplace Workplace Insights report


According to the study, there is also a misunderstanding between workers and their managers over what employees value and need in Canadian workplaces.

New research from Unispace finds employers and employees not aligned on return to work policies. (Photo via Unispace)

TORONTO — Employers in Canada are struggling to convince their people to work from the office but are overlooking a willingness from employees to return in a four-day working week, according to a study by Unispace.

Returning for Good, a Unispace Global Workplace Insights report found that half of workers are in the office four or more days a week, but just 31 per cent like being in the workplace this regularly. The disconnect between what employees want and the work set-up on offer is a potential driver, as 41 per cent of employees currently “hot-desk,” or share a workstation with other employees, but 79 per cent suggested they would be more inclined to head into the office if they were given their own assigned desk.

According to the study, there is also a misunderstanding between workers and their managers over what employees value and need in Canadian workplaces; more than half (55 per cent) of the employees surveyed feel reluctant to return to the office, above the global average of 51 per cent, with the main factors including a lack of privacy (34 per cent), lower levels of productivity (29 per cent) and feeling they are less effective in a busier working environment (28 per cent).

Employers believe that the main benefit of working in an office is access to learning and development opportunities (27 per cent), which ranked a lowly 14th on the list of factors employees like of being in the workplace. If employers really want Canadian workers back in the office full time, they might want to consider the benefits of a three-day weekend, as 87 per cent of employees surveyed reported being interested in trialling a four-day workweek.

“The data from Canadian respondents shows that employers are clearly emphasizing the value of the workplace, but this, by itself, may not be enough to drive successful employee engagement and performance,” said Ryan Caffyn-Parsons, CEO, The Americas at Unispace. “What our data also highlights is that employers may be missing an opportunity to better define the purpose of their office and how this can best enable their employees’ full work ecosystems.”

Research was conducted in partnership with Opinium Research between 3 April 2023 and 14 April 2023. The survey included 9,500 employees and 6,650 business leaders from across 17 countries worldwide – including 1,500 US employees in companies 50+ employees and 1,500 senior decision makers in companies 50+ employees in the US. Care was taken to ensure that the geographic and demographic characteristics of the populations surveyed are properly represented.

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