Women concerned about returning to office: survey

As workplaces return to hybrid or in-person models, a new survey suggests nearly half of Canadian women would quit their jobs if asked to return to the office full-time.

According to The Prosperity Project’s Canadian Household Outlook survey, 63% of women said they would turn down promotions at work if it meant they could continue to work from home, and 45% said they were more likely to quit their jobs. jobs if they worked from home. for at least a few days of the week is no longer an option.

Additionally, the survey released Wednesday found that 91 percent of women said they would prefer most or at least some of their work to be done remotely in the future.

“As organizations create post-pandemic work strategies, this research sheds light on what women think and feel about work and their careers. Most would like to see the flexibility offered during the pandemic continue, specifically the option of working remotely some of the time, said Andrea Spender, CEO of The Prosperity Project, in a Press release.

The online survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, in partnership with CIBC and Enterprise Canada, in mid-May and surveyed 800 female employees across the country.

While 73 percent of respondents acknowledged that employers were more accommodating during the pandemic, the survey found a similar proportion at 72 percent who also expect their employers to prioritize in-person office work in the future.

“This research tells us that some changes brought about by the pandemic were actually improvements for working women, but uncertainty remains about whether they are permanent,” Pollara Senior Vice President Lesli Martin said in the statement. “In the midst of this uncertainty, many Canadian working women are understandably worried about their future.”

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According to the survey, nearly 60 percent of women said they feel like they will have to choose between their career and their family, and 46 percent said the pandemic has increased their responsibilities at home.

More than half of the women surveyed (55 percent) said they are primarily responsible for childcare in their home, and only seven percent reported that their partner or spouse takes care of the children, while 35 percent said they share responsibilities equally.

The survey found that 52 percent of working women with children under the age of 18 said that balancing their career with being a good parent is the main barrier to returning to work in an office. Of those surveyed, 18 percent said they were worried about how they would balance family priorities if they had to go back to the office.

The survey found that half of respondents believe they will return to work in the office, either through a hybrid model (31 percent) or in person full-time (23 percent), while eight percent said that your employer no longer has an office to return to. Additionally, 17 percent said they believe they will have a choice about where they want to work.

Of those surveyed, only a fifth said they would like to spend all or most of their working day in the office. Overall, the survey found fewer Canadian women working full time at 62 per cent compared to 70 per cent before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pamela Jeffery, founder of The Prosperity Project, said employers have gained a greater understanding of the value of workplace flexibility for employees during the pandemic, adding that they “need to continue to heed those lessons.”

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“Canada’s economic growth needs women to contribute. Enabling women to balance careers and home responsibilities, through hybrid home-office work and other settings, with equal opportunities for promotion and advancement, is a top priority,” Jeffery said in the statement.


The Prosperity Project is a registered charity and the survey is part of the Canadian Household Outlook on the New Economy initiative.

On behalf of The Prosperity Project, Pollara Strategic Insights conducted an online survey between May 12 and 17 among a randomly selected group of 800 Canadian women over the age of 18 who were working full time. As a guideline, a probability sample of 800 carries a margin of error of ±3.5, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error is larger for sub-segments. The data set was weighted according to the most current age and region census data, to ensure that the sample reflects the actual population of women in Canada.