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Changing world of work: Citrix survey shows how Canadians imagine (home) office routine of tomorrow

68 per cent say the right technologies make the home office more productive than the office


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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

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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.

“Upon the return to work, company leaders will need to rethink the purpose of the workplace and re-evaluate how they are measuring employee productivity,” said Ed Rodriguez, GM and VP, Citrix Canada, in a prepared statement. “A shift needs to happen where work is no longer viewed as a place you go to, but rather a thing you do from wherever you feel most productive, with clear goals being met – whether it be at the office or at home. Employees have proven that they can be productive working remotely and can be trusted to get their jobs done.”

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 this strengthened trust and increased autonomy will be maintained after the crisis. More than half of those polled (58 per cent) think 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.

“As almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of employees believe that the home office now rivals the actual office in terms of technological capability and accessibility, now is the time to rethink how we best use our physical workplaces,” said Rodriguez. “Implementing long-term changes that work better for the workforce at large can create a working world that is both more effective and more agile, with technology empowering workers to be as successful and productive as possible, wherever and whenever they’re working.”