But that’s not stopping them from offering incentives so people come to the office more often

Many chief executives in Canada would like to see employees back in the office five days a week, but appear to be realizing that those days might be over for good.

Only 55 per cent of Canadian business leaders think staffers will return to the office full time within the next three years, according to the latest CEO Outlook report from KPMG LLP. That’s a big drop from last year, when 75 per cent of CEOs expected employees to be back at their desks. Executives globally are more optimistic about a full return, with 64 per cent still expecting one.

Yet, Canadian CEOs remain eager to get people back, and to do so, 77 per cent say they’ll hand out pay raises, promotions and plum assignments to employees who make an effort to show up at their desks more often. But even that percentage is muted when compared to CEOs around the world, of which 88 per cent say they would offer such incentives to ensure more in-office days.

The research lines up with other studies that have shown Canadians spend more of their workweeks at home than employees in other countries. On average, Canadian staffers work from home 1.7 days a week, while workers in the United Kingdom do so 1.5 days and those in the United States stay home 1.4 days a week, according to recent research by a German think tank.

A slower return-to-office isn’t the only workplace issue Canadian executives are grappling with these days. Labour shortages, especially among skilled workers, continue to weigh heavily on leaders. Recession fears had many CEOs signing off on layoffs last year, but now 88 per cent say they’re expecting to hire more people over the next three years. But finding those staffers is proving to be a challenge, and more than three-quarters of executives say a lack of qualified labour poses a threat to business.


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