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What Canada's Top CEOs Think About Remote Work - Outcome in The Conversation

What Canada's Top CEOs Think About Remote Work - Outcome in The Conversation

It is almost 2021 and millions of people in Canada are still working from home full time with no end in sight. Many Canadians want to continue working from home after the pandemic ends, and several companies plan to make a permanent shift to the remote work environment for their employees.

In his recent research, Jean-Nicolas Reyt, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at McGill University, analyzed the language CEOs used in quarterly earnings calls with analysts and investors. He says that while discussion about remote work was limited in the years leading up to 2020, it was the main focus in public company earnings calls this year.

Here's what Reyt says Canada's top CEOs believe about remote working and its future in the corporate landscape from the analysis of hundreds of such calls:

After spending some time working from home, many CEOs began to view remote work in a favorable light.

CEOs of utilities, banking, telecommunications and insurance companies, which collectively employ hundreds of thousands of call center employees, were the first to affirm a successful transition to remote work.

Videotron CEO Jean-Francois Pruneau confirmed in his company's earnings call last August that his call center staff are "ensuring the same standards of excellence for our clients."

Michel Letellier, CEO of renewable energy company Innergex, said: “I must say that it changed the way I view work from home. At first I was a bit skeptical, but that shows that we could still be quite efficient. "

Remote work can help recruit people with more experience

Some companies have identified that offering remote work options could help them recruit higher-profile and international talent.

A recent survey by ADP Canada indicates that 61 percent of millennials will be happier working from home for part of the work week.

Feeling isolated is a challenge for many remote workers

Some CEOs think that teams risk losing their sense of unity, and the possibility of damaging company culture is a deciding factor for them.

For many of them, however, the optimal solution might end up being a compromise between working from home and going to the office each week. For example, John Chen, CEO of Blackberry, said in his September earnings call: “If everyone works from home forever, it will hurt productivity, it will hurt innovation. But I think there will be a hybrid model ”.

Many CEOs say the future of urban life is uncertain with remote work

Allowing employees to work from home has significantly reduced the real estate footprint of most organizations.

Amy Shapero, CFO of e-commerce platform Shopify, said on her company's earnings call in July: "Most of our employees will work remotely permanently and will take advantage of our office spaces when it makes sense."

Along the same lines, many other organizations announced the closure of offices and a permanent switch to teleworking.

Jamie Farrar, executive director of City Office REIT, said that "conversations with tenants and leasing agents highlight the general uncertainty about future space needs," and tenants are having difficulty "determining their future space needs. ".

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