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Telework | Divisions among workers

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(Toronto) Telecommuting has seen a big boom during the pandemic, but it has also helped drive a wedge between Canadian workers.

If 40% of the Canadian workforce can work from home, that means six out of ten workers are not so lucky, experts point out.

This may cause some resentment among workers considered essential who still have to get to work, says Linda Duxbury of Carleton University.

“We will have two classes of workers: those who can and those who cannot. [travailler chez eux]. This is going to be a problem,” she predicts.

Those who have been able to embrace remote working, especially professionals like accountants, lawyers, and tech workers, have been able to become financially wealthy during the pandemic. The others often had to work at their place of work or they lost their jobs because of the confinement.

Prof. Duxbury says the second group has been praised, but they don’t “feel very important anymore”.

The ability to work from home is a pivotal moment in labor history, even if it seems reserved for workers with special skills, argues Erica Pimentel, an assistant professor at Queen’s University.

“If 60% of the workforce is excluded from a major transformation, this will obviously have repercussions on society,” she points out.

Pre Duxbury prefers to be cautious about the future of telework. She often hears about companies wanting advice on how best to proceed. She considers that it is still too early to evaluate this system since companies are still experimenting with a large number of models.

“Telecommuting has been a great lab experience during the pandemic. We are moving towards a second experience: the hybrid model. »

Another problem: if people work longer when they are telecommuting, this does not mean that they will be more productive, adds Pre Duxbury.

“Just because we’ve been telecommuting all the time for over two years doesn’t make it a sustainable model for multiple people and multiple jobs. »

A “multigenerational gap”

But teleworking is increasingly viewed favorably, especially by members of Generation Z, who have always had access to the internet and social networks, underlines Pre Pimentel.

These newcomers arrive on the labor market with different expectations of the bosses. They intend to reconcile the various aspects of their lives in a different way than their predecessors, many of whom have become bosses.

“There is this multi-generational disconnect between bosses and their employees. Everyone is dissatisfied, ”says Pre Pimentel.

Several companies want their employees to return to the office full-time, but they are encountering strong opposition, recognizes Pre Duxbury. The lack of manpower forces the hand of employers who must be more flexible. And those who could benefit the most are the advanced technicians, who have been working from home during the pandemic.

Telecommuting has become the norm in this sector, as competition for recruitment is fierce, says Kristina McDougall, the founder and president of an Artemis recruitment company, which specializes in the field of information technology.

“Most companies have to be flexible, unless you absolutely have to be there to work,” she says.

The growth of telecommuting is also transforming recruitment, as people can work from anywhere. They no longer have to stay close to the office. Of course, employees have access to more positions, but companies can rely on a larger pool of candidates.

According to Mme McDougall said the trend towards working from home is irreversible for some sectors like technology, as the pandemic has demonstrated that people can work from outside offices.

“You can’t put a genie back in its bottle. People consider it futile to go to the office every day. »



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