A new report studying workers’ views on productivity, remote work, and collaboration tools revealed there is an emerging ‘cost of working’ crisis in Canada and around the world.
The Adaptavist “Reinventing Work Report” found that with inflation and cost-of-living increases on the rise, as well as many companies forcing employees back into the office, Canadians are concerned about the financial, emotional and mental impact the return to office could create.
Forty eight per cent of employees surveyed said they are worried about the additional financial impact associated with working in person. These include factors like expensive commutes and gas costs.
When it comes to returning to offices and entering a hybrid work era, employees are looking for additional benefits. On top of more vacation days and flexible work hours, 25 per cent of workers noted that free food and beverages would be a perk to help get them into the office more often.
Additionally, just under half of workers surveyed are also fearing a loss of worker freedom.
“That loss of hybrid or remote work seems like it’s a real concern for a decent portion of people,” said Jon Mort, chief technology officer at Adaptavist.
The survey revealed that Canadian workers are also experiencing tool fatigue. Thirty five per cent of workers said their organization has too many tools that perform similar functions. Employees who set their own schedules are facing this fatigue at a much higher rate than those who work on a set schedule (40 per cent vs. 27 per cent).
Only 10 per cent of workers use collaboration tools such as Slack as their primary communication method, however those working within companies with over 250 employees were much more likely to make use of these tools. About 25 per cent of Canadian respondents said they have yet to find a tool that works for them.
“Tool overload is something which is a real concern for people. So this seemed like quite a decent amount of dissatisfaction with the tooling…it’s a pretty high number given two years of COVID. It certainly seems to me that if we’ve been doing it for that long, we should have established something that works. I think this is something that businesses really need to look at to provide that tooling support,” Mort added.
Adaptavist has been a remote first company since before the pandemic. The company has an office in Canada designed to be a “multi-use space”, allowing employees to decide if they want to work in an office or remotely.
Employees are concerned about an “employment reset”, with employers regaining the upper hand in the workplace dynamic. While employees have had more control of their schedules for the past year, calling the shots concerning remote work, the employment ‘reset’ has many employers demanding a return to the office. Forty two per cent of Canadian workers said the reset would likely eliminate essential workplace freedoms such as remote work.
Hybrid or remote work setups have enabled about one in five workers to accept an additional job or take on extra paid work. Losing this supplemental income with a full-time return to the office would be difficult, as nearly 64 per cent of employees taking on second jobs report earning more than $7,500 annually through a side hustle.
Mort said it would be a poor decision for companies to demand a return to the office.
“I think it’s fundamentally a mistake, to have a demand to come back…I think a lot of companies who say they have to be back in the office, they’re looking for input, and they kind of equate input to productivity. Whereas it’s certainly clear in the report that employees feel they should be measured on outcomes rather than how many hours are spent in meetings behind the keyboard.”