Business in Vancouver: New restrictions sink B.C. return-to-office plans

September 9, 2021
Colin Wong


With B.C.’s spiking COVID case numbers scuttling the province’s plan for a full Step 4 reopening by September 7, many Metro Vancouver businesses that had intended to bring workers back to the office this fall have scrapped those plans.

Jason Santeford, managing director of the Vancouver office for global architecture and design firm Gensler, said that almost all of the clients the company is working with to recreate post-COVID office spaces had plans to bring some employees back in anticipation of the reopening. Many of these companies were scrambling to get their offices updated by September 7, but Santeford said those plans have now been largely pushed back by months.

The desire to bring employees back on-site in a centralized office – even for less than a five-day work week – is real among business owners and managers.

A recent released Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) survey found that the majority of top business executives in the province expect “a significant reduction in remote work from pandemic levels” after health officials declare the office environment safe.

The report showed almost 55% of business leaders surveyed have more than three-fifths of their workforce working off-site, and 35% of respondents said more than four-fifths of their workforce is off-site. However, when asked how much of their workforce will remain remote post-COVID only 10% of executives said three-fifths of their employees or more would remain working remotely.

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