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Working from home reveals economic divide among Canadians

Last Updated Apr 13, 2021 at 2:45 pm PDT

Work from home office space. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 photo)

COVID-19 pandemic reveals economic divide in Canadians' ability to work from home in Environics Institute survey

Office workers, professionals can work from home while many other employees show up in-person

Survey finds some people, particularly young people, worry working from home will negatively impact their career

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed an economic divide among Canadians when it comes to working from home.

Office workers and professionals can work remotely, while more economically vulnerable employees often show up in-person at work. That, in turn, makes them more vulnerable to the coronavirus and to financial stress, according to a new survey from the Environics Institute.

“The inequalities that were there before the pandemic are now reproduced as inequalities in terms of ability to protect yourself from the virus,” explained Andrew Parkin, Environics Institute executive director.

He adds some people worry working from home will negatively impact their career. That is especially true for young workers (56 per cent), immigrants (44 per cent), racialized workers (46 per cent), and Indigenous workers (60 per cent).
“They’re finding it hard to juggle, finding it hard to have time for themselves. They worry that they can’t be good at their job and a good parent at the same time,” Parkin said.

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The survey found two out of five people were concerned about juggling their work-life responsibilities while working remotely, with respondents saying they “are constantly working with no time for themselves or their families.”

While many have found challenges with working from home, Environics found more than three out of five people surveyed find it to be easier than they expected.

“Finding it actually less stressful than going into the office,” Parkin said. “They say they like it better than where they used to work and they want to continue, at least a couple of days a week, after the pandemic is over.”