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Survey: 28% of Canadians Will Work From Home After COVID-19 Lockdown Lifts

Woman working from home

The COVID-19 pandemic and our country’s economic lockdown to contain the virus’ spread is spurring changes in Canadians’ working behaviours, and how they will commute, a new Rates.ca survey reveals.

According to the survey’s respondents, 28% say they will continue to work from home after government restrictions ease – a dramatic increase from 9% before the pandemic.

When asked what actions their employers took because of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, 28% say some employees were told to work from home. Another 26% say all employees were told to work from home, 25% say it was business as usual, 16% say employees were temporarily laid off, and 1% say employees were permanently laid off.

Though lockdown measures are easing gradually, the organizations and their employees who embraced working remotely is fast-becoming commonplace, with 86% of employees indicating they will continue to work from home.

The pandemic’s impact will also affect Canadians’ commuting routines: 53% say they are planning to drive to work once they are allowed to return to the office, which is a notable drop from the 61% who drove to work before COVID-19 hit. Also, only 7% say they will return to taking public transit – a sharp decline from 17% who did beforehand.

Moreover, the pandemic has reduced people’s enthusiasm for carpooling with friends to work. Before COVID-19, 6% of respondents say they carpooled to work. Now, only 3% say they will continue to do so. For people who walk or bike to work, they won’t change: 7% say they walked or rode a bicycle to their workplaces, and they intend to keep it up after the lockdown lifts.

Older Canadians More Likely to Return to Their Workplaces

People over the age of 35 are more inclined to go back to work in an office (52%) whereas 48% of people under the age of 35 say they will be returning to their workplaces as usual.

There is a shift in commuting routines for the different age groups as well. Those under the age of 35, who were typically less likely to drive to work compared to their older counterparts (53% versus 65%), saw less of a dip in this mode of transportation, dropping only 7 percentage points compared to 9 percentage points. On the other hand, this younger group, who used to take public transit more often than those over the age of 35 (25% versus 13%), saw a sharp 13 percentage points drop from 25% compared to an 8 percentage points decline seen in the older group.

Of Canadians who live in large cities, 39% say they will work from home permanently versus 46% who will return to the office. Thirty-two per cent who live in the suburbs will also work from home permanently compared to 49% who will go back to their workplaces, and 16% of people living in rural regions will continue to work from home versus 67% who will travel to a workplace.

Whether You’re Working From Home or Not, Check Your Insurance Coverage

Whether you intend to work from home full- or part-time after the lockdown lifts, it can have an impact on your auto and home insurance. Here are a few things to do to ensure you have all the bases covered:

  • Auto Insurance Discounts. Many insurers are extending or adding to the financial relief measures they are providing over time, so it’s worthwhile to check Rates.ca’s free-to-use COVID-19 Insurance Premium Calculator every couple of weeks to calculate your latest savings. If you plan on commuting to your workplace after laying low these past few months, and you reduced your car insurance coverage or temporarily suspended it, let your broker or insurer know you will be driving more frequently in advance.
  • Review Your Home or Condo Insurance Policy. If you are working from home and intend to for the foreseeable future, read your policy’s details to make sure you are covered for the cost of theft or damage to any business equipment or any company merchandise in your possession. If you are continuing to work from home, will your clients visit your dwelling? If so, ensure you have the coverage you need in the event one of your customers gets injured while on your property. It’s important to note home insurance is not the same as business insurance as a home policy is not designed to meet the specific needs of individuals who work from home.
  • Contact Your Insurer or Broker. It never hurts to talk to your broker or insurance provider and ask for a review of your auto and home policies to ensure you and your family are adequately protected. Also, find out what will happen after any COVID-19 rate relief measures you have currently come to an end, and how those changes may affect your premiums.
  • Always Shop Around. Whether your auto or home insurance policy is up for renewal or not, it’s always worthwhile to comparison shop to find out what types of car insurance, home insurance, or condo insurance policies you can get at different prices.

About the Survey

A digital survey of 817 working Canadians aged 18 years or older was conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of Rates.ca from June 5 to June 7, 2020, using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error for this study is +/-3.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.