Working from home: a new experiment for many Canadian workers and employers
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the work location of thousands of Canadian workers. From April 2020 to June 2021, 30% of employees aged 15 to 64 who worked during the Labour Force Survey (LFS) reference week had performed most of their hours from home. In contrast, about 4% of employees did so in 2016.
These unprecedented changes in the proportion of Canadians working from home raise several questions for employees and employers regarding the work arrangements that should prevail once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
For employers, the optimal amount of telework will likely depend on many factors, including the degree to which working from home affects productivity and worker turnover, facilitates the hiring of employees living far from the workplace, fosters or inhibits teamwork, makes training more or less difficult, and affects employees’ sense of belonging. These factors are likely to impact the types of investments that businesses will make in the near future to improve employee training, office design, and the security and performance of their telework systems.
In contrast, workers’ preferences for telework will likely depend on how much working from home will lower their commuting expenses, affect their ability to perform most of their tasks, reduce their social interactions, and facilitate or hinder work–life balance. For the first time, the February 2021 Labour Force Survey measured the preferences of Canadian employees regarding working from home in a post-COVID-19 context. For more information on workers’ preferences for telework, see the study titled “Working from home: Productivity and preferences.”
To inform discussions on these issues, today Statistics Canada sketches a detailed profile of workers and families who worked from home from April 2020 to June 2021.
High-income families were more likely to work from home
Canadians have worked from home to varying degrees since April 2020.
From April 2020 to June 2021, 45% of dual-earner salaried couples in the top 10% of the earnings distribution had both spouses working from home. This was nine times the rate of 5% observed for their counterparts in the bottom 10% of the earnings distribution.
The greater propensity of high-income families to work from home largely reflects the fact that these couples generally hold jobs that are more amenable to telework than lower-income couples.
For example, in 57% of dual-earner salaried couples in the top 10% of the earnings distribution, both spouses held jobs that could in principle be done from home. For dual-earner salaried couples in the bottom 10% of the earnings distribution, the rate was 11%.
Chart 2 Percentage of workers who worked from home, by education level, April 2020 to June 2021
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ The Daily — Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, April 2020 to June 2021