Citrix Survey Shows How Canadians Imagine The Home Office Routine Of Tomorrow

Lockdown restrictions in Canada have begun to lift and companies are beginning to strategize on how they will create a secure return to work process. However, before companies can fully reopen their doors, there are some things they will need to amend or even rethink completely.  From the work models being offered, technology being used, or the overall company culture — the workplace will need to change, according to employee expectations. In a recent Citrix survey, 55 per cent of polled office workers state that they would prefer to work from home more frequently, while 41 per cent agree that the era of the 9-to-5 is now over. 

Flexible Work: From Nice-to-have to Must-have

Before the Corona crisis, the office was the place you went to perform your job, with very few Canadian employees allowed to work from home. In fact, Canadian office workers only worked from home an average of 2.89 days a month, with 7 per cent revealing they never worked from home.  Upon return, companies will need to rethink traditional work models, with 62 per cent of employees considering the office a place mainly for exchange and collaboration and 42 per cent wanting to see more flexible work models, allowing them to switch between the office and their home.

New Technologies and Culture Required

Before returning staff to the office, employers need to get busy. In the light of the current pandemic, 69 per cent of those surveyed are concerned about coworking and hot-desking concepts. 61 per cent of polled Canadian office workers consider the home office, if equipped with the proper technology, on par with working in an office. While less than one fourth of survey participants (19 per cent) state that they are currently using software and tools on their work computers that has not been approved by the IT department – or even is explicitly prohibited – a more digitally-forward culture is required where IT teams can be flexible, adaptable and anticipate workers’ technology needs to avoid shadow IT challenges in the future. The tools accounting for the largest shares are video conferencing software (50 per cent), personal devices (43 per cent) and instant messengers (42 per cent).

Even beyond technology, the effects of the crisis on corporate culture should not be underestimated as more home office usage is expected to improve the employer/workforce relationship. Of those polled, 37 per cent believe that in the future, flexible work models and remote work will improve the company culture. Furthermore, 44 per cent of respondents believe their company will have more of a digital culture and will embrace new technologies rapidly to better serve the workforce. The industries that believe this the most include hospitality and events management (63 per cent), teaching and education (60 per cent) and charity and voluntary work (58 per cent).

The abrupt switch to the home office due to the crisis required trust on both sides. More than a quarter of those surveyed (29 per cent) now hope that this strengthened trust and increased autonomy will be maintained, if not increased, after the crisis. More than half of those polled (58 per cent) think that there will be a better understanding of the human factor in the workplace, and almost one-third (31 per cent) agree that the Corona crisis experience will help soften established corporate hierarchies. 

Key Canadian Facts:

  • Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, office workers from Canada worked from home an average of 2.89 days a month, with 7 per cent revealing they never worked from home. Mandatory work-from-home measures changed all that, with working days shifting for many. 
  • 33 per cent of respondents said their working day is longer now that they are working from home, compared to 19 per cent who said their working day is shorter. However, 48 per cent said that the length of their working day hasn’t changed.
  • When asked how the impact of Coronavirus has affected the structure of their working day, nearly half (49 per cent) of office workers said that they are working to a more flexible schedule. This was followed by:
    • ‘I am eating meals at irregular times’ (29 per cent).
    • ‘I have had to use my time more efficiently to complete tasks in my working hours’ (23 per cent).
    • ‘I am often working late into the evening’ (23 per cent).
  • 56 per cent of respondents said that they enjoy the flexibility to dip in and out of work when they choose.
    • 29 per cent said they have to make a conscious effort to stop working at their normal time.
    • 22 per cent said they are finding it really difficult to switch off from work.
    • 20 per cent said they struggle to end their working day and find that they are working into the evening.
  • In order to increase productivity during the Coronavirus lockdown, 27 per cent of employees said their company has deconstructed jobs into component tasks to make it easier to see which tasks can be performed by workers working remotely or in other geographical locations.
    • 17 per cent said they have introduced more automation and ‘intelligent technologies’.
    • 17 per cent said that traditional organizational hierarchies have now been disregarded.
  • 31 per cent of respondents said they are more productive when working from home, compared to working in the office.
    • 47 per cent said their productivity is the same.
    • While 22 per cent said they are less productive. 
  • 46 per cent of employees said they are getting extra rest or sleep with their additional spare time. This was followed by:
    • ‘I am exercising more frequently’ (34 per cent).
    • ‘I am now pursuing wellness activities’ (20 per cent).
    • ‘I am now pursuing creative activities’ (20 per cent).
  • 24 per cent of employees said their organization introduced monitoring or surveillance technology to check up on employees while they are working from home.
    • 19 per cent said they were comfortable with this.
    • While 5 per cent said they were not comfortable with this.
    • Of those whose organization did not install this technology, 43 per cent said they would not be comfortable with this. 
  • 19 per cent are using some apps, software or devices for work purposes that have not been officially approved, or have been explicitly banned by their IT or leadership team. Of those who are using unapproved technology, 50 per cent are using video conference apps. This was followed by:
    • 43 per cent are using their own personal device(s)
    • 41 per cent are using instant messaging apps
    • 38 per cent are using social media
  • 62 per cent of office workers from Canada agree with the statement ‘I really miss the social aspects of office working’.
    • Contrastingly 52 per cent disagreed with the statement ‘I am finding it difficult to learn how to use all the new and different digital tools since working from home’.
  • To help stop the spread of bacteria and viruses, 69 per cent of employees would like to see hand sanitizer available in all communal areas on their return to the office. This was followed by:
    • ‘More frequent and better-documented office cleaning policies’ (51 per cent).
    • ‘Only required to go to the office on certain days/for certain activities’ (49 per cent).

About the survey

Commissioned by Citrix, OnePoll surveyed 7,500 office workers in mid-sized and large enterprises across Germany, the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, and the Netherlands working mainly from home due to the current situation. The survey was conducted in April and May, 2020.

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