Teleworking | A return to the office full time? Forget that !

Even the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal no longer believes in it

White-collar workers will not return to the office full-time in the fall or beyond. Employees and employers are currently looking for a balance point, somewhere between two and four days in the office per week.

Desjardins Group has gone from one to two minimum office working days per week since September 18. The measure applies to Federation employees working at the homonymous complex, the Lévis head office, the offices on De Maisonneuve Boulevard and those in the Olympic Stadium tower.

The Presswho herself has a policy of two days per week in the office, found out about the evolution of the teleworking policy from large employers in downtown Montreal for the fall.

At McCarthy Tétrault, a major law firm, no change on the horizon. “Since last April, we have been working in hybrid mode three days a week. This is a minimum, and many of our members come more frequently and recognize the value of developing professional relationships in person,” says Karl Tabbakh, managing partner for the Quebec region, by email.

He points out that McCarthy took advantage of the pandemic to make workplaces more attractive to his colleagues.

Status quo also at Canadian National: “Most head office employees must be in the office at least three days a week. This is the situation that has prevailed since the lifting of restrictions,” indicates Mathieu Gaudreault, director, public affairs, for Quebec and French-speaking communities. “CN believes that personal interactions are essential to improve collaboration, professional development and teamwork,” he adds.

At Hydro-Québec, a pilot project on teleworking is in place for staff whose positions allow it. The project authorizes teleworking three days a week. “It is applied in a very flexible way,” explains Louis-Olivier Batty, head of media relations, in an interview. A review will be undertaken over the coming weeks to determine the follow-up to the pilot project.

At CGI, it’s even more flexible. “We are encouraging our employees to return to the office more frequently, and our hybrid work model continues to be in place. As for the minimum number of days, we are giving ourselves time to think about the subject,” says Julie Moreau, vice-president, human resources, Canada. She adds that a majority of the workforce acts as consultants, and employees adapt according to client requests.

Bottom line: two employers are three days away, McCarthy and CN, HQ and Desjardins are two days away, and CGI does not impose a minimum.


Manon Poirier, general director of the Order of Certified Human Resources Advisors (CRHA)

It’s always very difficult to go back, especially with all the advantages of teleworking and the context of labor shortage.

Manon Poirier, general director of the Order of Certified Human Resources Advisors (CRHA)

“Employers are still evaluating what is the middle point or the reasonable point between asking employees to be face-to-face a certain part of the time and allowing teleworking,” observes Me Marianne Plamondon, associate lawyer at Langlois lawyers. We know that teleworking is very popular among employees. It can be difficult for employers to impose their views because there is a labor shortage. A dissatisfied employee risks resigning since there are often several other opportunities in the market. »

The lawyer noted that employers have mostly adopted a teleworking policy requiring minimal presence in the office. “On the other hand, few or no employers impose measures to enforce it,” she says. She also does not suggest that her clients go in this direction.


Marianne Plamondon, MBA, CRHA, associate lawyer at Langlois lawyers

“It seems better to me to create events every week where employees will see it as an opportunity for development and improvement in their job than to say: be there on Monday otherwise you will have to face disciplinary measures. »

No more five days in the office a week

What does the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal think? The organization has been working hard for months to bring employees back into the towers in the name of the productivity of its members, the integration and retention of newcomers, teamwork, and the development of organizational culture, and also to avoid a devitalization of the city center.


Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

I feel like the five days a week are over. The company rule that previously was: everyone is in the office all the time, we don’t expect that to come back.

Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Acting as the spokesperson for his members, he sees the balance point ultimately being between three and four days a week.

As for them, employees prefer one or two days a week, underlines Manon Poirier, of the CRHA.

One day per week is the model that, in terms of measuring impact and mobilization, is ideal.

Manon Poirier, general director of the Order of Certified Human Resources Advisors (CRHA)

If workers return to three or four days in the office per week, downtown stores and restaurants will survive, according to figures collected by the CCMM. Basically, workers’ expenses would be concentrated over three days instead of five. “We would not risk a destructuring of the city center,” says Mr. Leblanc. With less than three days left, nothing is less certain.

When it comes to office space, availability will remain high for some time, which will lower property values ​​and, in turn, central city revenues.

According to the most recent market study from the Colliers brokerage agency, the office availability rate now reaches 16.5% in the entire Montreal market in the second quarter of 2023, up 20 basis points in one year. “By adopting a hybrid work-from-home/office model, tenants find they can significantly reduce their total occupancy costs and increase the quality of their offices,” it reads.


Proportion of companies that plan to require days in the office this fall, with at least one day of identified presence. Half (51%) of companies already do this.


Proportion of companies that say they are ready to have no physical presence in the office.

Source: CCMM


Portion of workers who go to the office at least once a week (compared to 81% in September 2022)


Portion of employees who say they are ready to come to the office 2 to 3 days per week

Source: CCMM

source site-55