indicatorThe Owl

New study sheds light on working from home

Hybrid work arrangements have become more common

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 1 February 2024 1 min read

Most Canadians do not work from home, but as a new study from Statistics Canada shows, it is more common than before the pandemic.

Highlights of the study include:

  • The percentage of Canadians working most of their hours from home spiked during the pandemic, reaching about 40% in April 2020.
  • That percentage has come down, but at about 20% as of November 2023, it is still more than double what it was before the pandemic.
  • While working almost exclusively from home has tapered post-pandemic, hybrid work arrangements have become more common, rising from about 4% at the start of 2022 to 12% in November 2023.
  • One of the reasons most Canadians do not work from home is because they can’t: only about 40% of jobs in Canada can—in principle—be done from home and the share “varies substantially across regions, education levels, wage deciles, industries and population groups.”
  • For example, only 4% of jobs in the agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishing sector can be done from home compared to 85% of finance and insurance jobs. (Full disclosure, I am writing this from my home office.) 
  • In Ottawa, 53% of jobs can be done from home with 37% of workers doing just that compared to 28% and 7% in the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake economic region of Alberta (as of December 2022).
  • Nine in 10 new teleworkers (i.e. those who didn’t work mostly from home before COVID) said they were just as productive at home as they were in the office (as of February 2021).
  • The number of Canadians working from home for an employer located in another province or country has increased, but remains relatively small with 179,000 working for an employer in a different province and 87,000 for an employer in a different country (as of June 2022).
  • The increase in working from home has reduced commuting, public transit use, and (likely) carbon emissions.

Answer to the previous trivia question: Today is National Freedom Day in the U.S. It commemorates the signing by President Abraham Lincoln of the resolution abolishing slavery in the U.S. that was later ratified as the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Today’s trivia question: What do economists call the additional benefit from an increase in an activity?

About 12% of Canadians had hybrid work arrangements as of November 2023

About 12% of Canadians had hybrid work arrangements as of November 2023

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