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Working from home or in the office? Some Canadians weigh

The news that she would be returning to the office was very welcoming to English teacher Kathy Andvaag, after more than two years of teaching from her “dark” and “cold” basement.

Unlike many Canadian women who say they prefer a flexible work schedule, Andvaag was very happy when she received notice from her employer in October telling her to return to the office.

After two years and seven months of working from home, she now goes to the office most of the time.

“I get a lot of energy from my students in person and also seeing some colleagues in person every day,” Andvaag told CTVNews.ca.

Andvaag, who teaches English as an Additional Language (EAL) in Saskatchewan, said, “I sometimes felt isolated at home and like I couldn’t bear to go another day to my cold, dark office in the basement. »

A recent study suggests that working from home is a top priority for women, with 42% saying they would give up a higher salary if it meant they could work from home as much as they wanted.

While returning to the office isn’t always convenient for Andvaag, she still prefers it, saying working with students and colleagues in person is more efficient and productive.

“As an EAL instructor, it’s much better for my low-level learners. We can do so many more interactive activities. We have more of an in-person community than online,” she said.

Although Andvaag feels more productive when he’s away from home, when it comes to actual productivity, it doesn’t really matter where you work from, according to Paula Allen, global leader and vice -senior president of the human resources company LifeWorks.

In an interview with CTVNews.ca, Toronto-based Allen said there are other things to consider.

“Really, it depends on several factors. The first factor is the nature of the work. There are jobs for which you need this collaboration, and you must have this essential place, and [others where it] is not as critical and you do the work via video conferencing and other means,” she said.

“The other major factor is the nature of the individual. Some people work very well on their own. They are able to concentrate, they are able to organize themselves, and they are able to reach out to others when others need help.

In winter, cold temperatures and snowy weather can be a big problem if you work in person. But for Tim, a director of a Saskatchewan crown corporation who declined to give his full name, the weather doesn’t bother him any more than getting up early in the morning and going to the office.

Although most of Tim’s work can be done online and he has flexibility at work, he prefers going to the office and says he benefits from the social aspects of working in person.

“It’s harder to get to know other team members without working with them in person,” he told CTVNews.ca. “I feel like new employees in companies can have a hard time getting to know their workgroup without seeing and interacting with them in person. I think a mix of online and in-person work can provide the benefits of both methods if used correctly.

Another element that concerns some people is their health. Canadians are returning to the office amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which the World Health Organization says remains a global health emergency.

“My sense of security changes from time to time. When reports of more virulent spots of [COVID-19] go out, I feel more uncertain. I think the safety issues due to the pandemic will persist for years,” Tim said.

A recent poll shows that on average, Canadians said they want to work from home 58% of the time.

“The main reason people really wanted to have this work-from-home option was the commute time and the money,” Allen said.

Allen suggests that employers should find a solution for those who want work flexibility and listen to them.

“You will never get good productivity if you fight with your employees. Whatever solution you have, you have to develop that solution jointly,” she said. “Be transparent and listen to your employees as well. “

Reporting for this story was paid for through the Meta-funded Afghan Journalists in Residence project.

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