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Eli Vescera, who doesn’t have a choice about working from home, and a friend relax on the job site after work. Photo: Eli Vescera

Hybrid work more popular, but some workers don’t have a choice

As more employees are balancing the benefits of remote and in person work, those including restaurant workers, aren’t able to stay home

By Anabella Klann Harrington , in City , on November 7, 2023

For Justin Bloom, being a hybrid worker is the only way he can get through the week. Bloom works on the client services team at Burnaby investment firm Orbis Investments and goes into the office three days a week.

He has to wake up an hour and a half earlier than when he works from home, having to factor in the 30-minute drive out to Metrotown. He said the sleep he loses commuting is significant.

“I fall asleep at the desk sometimes, even if I’m standing, I will fall asleep standing,” he said.

That’s why he appreciates being able to work at home two days a week and he’s not alone.

Bloom is one of many enjoying hybrid work arrangements, echoing a recent report from Statistics Canada and the Labour Force Survey that says working solely from home is in decline. As of August 2023, fully remote work is down 3.2 per cent and hybrid work arrangements are up 1.7 per cent compared to August 2022.

As more people are enjoying the benefits hybrid and remote work models can bring, employers see the importance as well.

A recent survey from recruitment company Robert Half reports that employers and employees are agreeing about the benefits of hybrid options. Fifty-four percent of hiring managers favoured hybrid work arrangements, almost the same as the 49 per cent of employees surveyed.

Executive recruiter Henry Goldbeck, founder and president of Goldbeck Recruiting, agreed.

He said more and more people are interested in hybrid work and companies that don’t offer that option are limiting their pool of potential candidates. Goldbeck said in-person work is slowly trending back from the decline of COVID-19, but he thinks it will never return to pre-pandemic levels.

Paige Doig. Photo: Paige Doig

“Work-life balances are important in British Columbia and so if you can commute three days a week instead of five […] that makes a big difference,” he said.

But hybrid work is not for everybody.

Paige Doig knows she could never work from home. While her company, the Vancouver creative technology studio NGX Interactive, offered her the chance to work in a hybrid model, she chooses to go into work every day. Even though it’s a 30-minute bus ride to her office near Science World, Doig said her productivity is much better in person.

“I prefer going in and getting to work with people,” she said.

Goldbeck thinks being able to work from home can create a more positive work culture and employees like the option. However, some people are less productive when out of the office and work better face-to-face.

While every company’s solution will look different, for others, remote work is not on the table.

“Some industries, there’s no option,” he said.

For Eli Vescera, who is a line cook at Bin 4 Burger Lounge in downtown Vancouver, working from home is out of the question. He said that when he took the job, he didn’t consider the inability to work remotely, but once he started school and became busier, it would have been beneficial.

Eli Vescera at work. Photo: Eli Vescera
Eli Vescera at work. Photo: Eli Vescera

While Vescera’s commute is only a 10-minute walk, he said that can add up, especially when he has to work a late night and early morning back-to-back.

“Sometimes I did ‘clopen’ and so I’d work the night and then I have a morning where I had to work, and that was awful,” he said.

Vescera said when he looks for other jobs in the future, he will consider being able to work from home, adding that having to miss his shifts when sick is a big disadvantage.

“I would definitely appreciate being able to make money […] even when I’m sick or not have to travel that far, even just for convenience’s sake,” he said.