Posthaste: Canadians ready to return to the office, but say there's one problem that still needs fixing

Offices still falling short on meeting needs of a hybrid work world

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Canadians don’t seem as reluctant to return to the office these days, but they still have some beefs about the way their on-site workspaces are set up.

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A majority, or 64 per cent, of workers say they’d support a mandate from their boss ordering them back to the office, according to a new survey from Cisco Systems Canada Co. More than half say they’d be willing to make the trek so they can collaborate with co-workers, while 28 per cent would do so for the social interaction.

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That comes as more than three-quarters of companies have decided to tell workers to return, whether for five days a week or less. Company leaders say they want people back for productivity and workplace culture reasons and, not unlike employees, think teams will find it easier to collaborate on-site.

But many workers say their offices aren’t designed for quality collaboration in a hybrid work world, and only 40 per cent deem their workplaces “very well prepared” to meet their needs. Indeed, 83 per cent of employers say half their offices are still made up of individual desks, instead of offering more space for meetings and collaboration.

Employers appear to be taking note of the disconnect. Two-thirds have either redesigned their office space since the pandemic began or are planning to in the next two years, the survey said. Still, many seem to be dragging their feet on incorporating artificial intelligence into their operations, something workers say they want, the survey said.

To keep employees content, businesses will need to make building suitable office spaces a priority this year, said Shannon Leininger, president of Cisco Canada.

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“Companies in 2024 need to invest strategically to create spaces that are a magnet for employees,” she said in a news release. “The backbone of modern workspaces lies in robust, AI-enabled technology infrastructure and seamless, secure connectivity. To meet the evolving needs of employees, workspaces will need to be reimagined and built for purpose.”

Workplace redesigns and calls to return to the office don’t necessarily herald an end to working from home. Hybrid work and flexibility will remain the norm because so many workers continue to expect it, the Cisco report said.

Right now, 29 per cent of employees prefer a mix of remote and hybrid work, 34 per cent want to come into the office more often and 30 per cent want to work more at home. Employers are largely on board with those desires, with 24 per cent preferring hybrid work, 34 per cent in favour of mostly in-office work and 30 per cent preferring more remote work, the survey said.

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Bitcoin record high

Bitcoin surged to a record for the first time in more than two years, yet the original cryptocurrency didn’t stay at its new all-time high very long.

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The token jumped as much as 2.5 per cent to US$69,191.95 shortly after 10 a.m. in New York, then almost immediately turned lower to trade around US$65,000 in early afternoon. It was at US$67,142 this morning.

At its high on Tuesday, Bitcoin was up about 63 per cent so far in 2024, outperforming global stocks and spreading optimism across the digital-asset market.

Bitcoin owes much of its resurgence to a regulator long-viewed as hostile to crypto: the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC approved spot-bitcoin exchange-traded funds in early January after suffering a legal defeat last year in its attempt to reject them. The move has widened the mass-market accessibility of bitcoin, helping the crypto sector to turn the page following a bear market in 2022 and a string of subsequent bankruptcies, including the implosion of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX exchange. — Bloomberg

  • The Bank of Canada will release its latest interest rate decision at 9:45 a.m. A press conference with Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem and senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers will follow at 10:30 a.m. Economists widely expect the central bank will keep rates on hold, but will be looking for a shift in tone in today’s statement, which could provide new insight into when the first rate cut will happen.
  • United States Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell will speak in front of the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m.
  • The Fed’s Beige Book will be released at 2 p.m.
  • Today’s data: Labour productivity, United States ADP national employment report, wholesale trade, global supply chain pressure index, job openings and labour turnover survey
  • Earnings: Constellation Software Inc., Tourmaline Oil Corp., Linamar Corp., Strathcona Resources Ltd., Canfor Corp.

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Financial Post

Recommended from Editorial

A stock can be both a screaming buy and an outright sell at the same time depending on what metrics you use. What’s an investor to do? Veteran investor Peter Hodson looks at the five things that really count when trying to decide on whether to buy a stock.

Are you worried about having enough for retirement? Do you need to adjust your portfolio? Are you wondering how to make ends meet? Drop us a line at [email protected] with your contact info and the general gist of your problem and we’ll try to find some experts to help you out while writing a Family Finance story about it (we’ll keep your name out of it, of course). If you have a simpler question, the crack team at FP Answers led by Julie Cazzin or one of our columnists can give it a shot.

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McLister on mortgages

Want to learn more about mortgages? Mortgage strategist Robert McLister’s Financial Post column can help navigate the complex sector, from the latest trends to financing opportunities you won’t want to miss. Read them here.

Today’s Posthaste was written by Victoria Wells, with additional reporting from Financial Post staff, The Canadian Press and Bloomberg.

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