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Quitting Time? Nearly half who prefer to work from home would look for a new job if forced back post-pandemic

'Work from home brought social, mental health challenges, but productivity as good or better than at office.'

Published 10/09/2021 | By Cambridge Now Local News - Angus Reid Institute Study

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Would you go looking for a new job if forced back post-pandemic?

Quitting Time? Nearly half who prefer to work from home would look for a new job if forced back post-pandemic

The last thing that many Canadians working from home may wish to think about at this midpoint of summer is returning to the office. Their employers, on the other hand, may well be thinking of little else.

A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds some Canadians pushing back on the idea of returning to work onsite, to the point where many would leave their job if asked.

Half of Canadian households had someone working from home over the past year (53%). Among those who continue to work from home, a considerable group (29%) would like to continue doing so in perpetuity, while the largest group would do a mix of both telecommuting and office work (44%). Only 27 per cent would prefer to return primarily to the office.

The future is also a source of fissure. What would those Canadians who want to continue working from home do if they were asked to return to the office? This condition has the potential to create some tension in employer-employee relationships in the coming months. While two-in-five say they would return to work at the office full time without much issue, 25 per cent say they would go back begrudgingly and likely start looking for another job. One-in-five say they would lean toward quitting immediately.

Young people (ages 18 to 34) and men, in particular, say they are likely to reconsider their employment if such a demand is made of them. Fully half (50%) of 18-to-34-year-olds say this would be the case. The hybrid office will evidently be in high demand as Canadians return to their pre-pandemic activities with post-pandemic expectations.

More Key Findings

  • 71 per cent say their productivity at home was good or great. Fewer, but still three-in-five (61%) say this of their mental state. One-in-five (21%) say the social aspect of working from home has been terrible, while another 45 per cent say it was challenging
  • Half of those aged 18 to 24 say their productivity was “awful” or “challenging”
  • Two-thirds of people in households with less than $50,000 in annual income say no one worked from home in the pandemic; only one-in-five in households with greater than $150,000 annual income said the same

Social life suffered, productivity didn’t

While work from home policies helped many people limit their close contacts and potentially avoid avenues of COVID-19 infection, the home office experience wasn’t all positive. Two-thirds of those who worked from home at some point during the pandemic describe their social life as “challenging” or “awful,” while two-in-five say the same of their mental or emotional state. For most, however, while there were challenges outside of work, their productivity was largely sustained while working from home. Seven-in-ten say work productivity was “good” or “great”, while just four per cent say it was awful.

View full study at link below

About ARI (Ang)us Reid Institute)

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.


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