remote hybrid work ontario

Ontario companies are less flexible with hybrid work than the rest of Canada

Hybrid work has become the new reality since office drones began to return to their cubicles en masse, but a new study reveals that Ontario lags behind the rest of Canada in terms of employers' expectations for their underlings.

The second edition of Cisco Canada's Hybrid Work Study, created in partnership with Angus Reid, reveals that Ontario employers are rooted in tradition in the way they approach the future of workplaces, relying more on hybrid in-person office arrangements than other Canadian provinces.

The report found that despite 84 per cent of Ontario employees showing a preference for working remotely and saying that flexibility is a make-or-break factor in whether they stay at a job, over two-thirds of employers in the province expect their employees to make regular appearances in the office.

A whopping 67 per cent of Ontario employers leaned on in-office work, compared to just 39 per cent in the rest of the country. Almost three-quarters of Ontario employers — a shocking 73 per cent — have or plan on implementing mandatory office days, compared to the national average of 61 per cent.

"The future of work is hybrid and global. Organizations that prioritize flexibility and choice as core business imperatives will reap the benefits," said Shannon Leininger, President of Cisco Canada.

"Leaders and managers are critical to the success of hybrid work and need the proper tools and training to make it inclusive, equitable, and successful," added Leininger.

She says that it falls on "leaders to role model and define hybrid work for their teams because it is not a one-size-fits-all approach."

But there's an apparent disconnect between those leaders and the people they lead, with the survey finding almost half (43 per cent) of Ontario employers expect their workers to move closer to the business if they live too far to commute. That figure sits at only nine per cent in Quebec.

There are, of course, perceived drawbacks to remote work on the employee side as well. Just over half of employees feel those who work remotely may miss out on career opportunities over those who regularly work in-person shifts, at 52 per cent versus a national average of 43 per cent.

However, when it comes down to work-life balance, 81 per cent of Ontario employees agree that remote work has only improved their amount of free time. So much so, that flexibility in work arrangements ranked as the third-most important factor when selecting an employer after salary and hours.

Remote work has clearly taken hold in Ontario. Toronto ranked the sixth-best city for remote workers globally back in 2021, though this convenience for workers comes with drawbacks for the health of cities.

Masses of office workers fuel economies of restaurants, shopping, and other businesses in areas where offices are concentrated.

Toronto's PATH system is still recovering even three years after life changed forever, and businesses can no longer rely on the once-predictable rush-hour and lunchtime booms in traffic seen during the before times.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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