November 2021

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Are pandemic staffing measures permanent?

It was almost 2 years ago now when the pandemic hit the globe hard, and many people out there were forced to work
 from home to help stop the spread of COVID

mannyManny Mandrusiak CD.
Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant
Vancouver Island Works Project

Contributing Editor

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It was almost 2 years ago now when the pandemic hit the globe hard, and many people out there were forced to work from home to help stop the spread of COVID. Now working from home was not a foreign concept to many people. Many people who are consultants, medical professionals, and consultants already worked from home in some way shape, or form.

The difference about working from home when the pandemic lockdowns hit was that we felt forced into working from our homes.  Humans are creatures of habit. We all have favorite coffee shops that we frequent at roughly the same time every day, or favorite routes to travel to the mall.  These are routine habits that our bodies get used to overtime.  We were used to the idea of going to a workplace and punching in around the same time every day.  It was what our parents did, and what we were trained to find a normal part of our day.  


The pandemic forced us to adapt to the concept of working from home and trying to find some sense and structure to our days because our daily routines were drastically changed.  We could no longer wake up and carry out our normal daily routines, so we were forced to adapt to our new work-from-home lifestyle. 

I consider working from home the same way that I consider the prospect of opening a small business.  There is a good amount of risk involved, but if we pull it off, we get to live a comfortable and balanced lifestyle. By risk I mean the number of distractions that are at home and can "time burgle" the day away.  Maybe your kids are home with you and want your attention? Maybe breaks become too frequent as you catch up on daily chores, or you become addicted to daytime TV as I did for a little while. (I am weaning myself off my Law & Order obsession by PVRing them and permitting myself to watch one a day at the end of my workday).


After almost two years into creating a new daily work routine, we are now looking at dust-covered cubicles and going back to our respective workplaces.  Everyone would naturally assume that we'd be excited about going back to the workplace, but many people are unsure how they feel about that idea now.

As I stated earlier, we humans are creatures of habit, and after 2 years we have all adopted new habits.  Many of us discovered that we can achieve a new level of work/life balance by not being tied to our cubicles for 8 hours straight.  

A recent article written by Melissa Edwards (printed in the Sept/Oct issue of BCBusiness) stated that 76.8% of British Columbians who shifted to remote work during the pandemic want to keep working at least half of their hours from home. The same article went on to state that nationally of Canadian professionals stated that they are more likely to want to work for an organization that shares pandemic-driven "new personal values" of having a more equal work/life balance. 


To me, that is a huge shift in our North American working culture.  Workers are now opening their eyes to the fact that many jobs are becoming more and more technical, and that projects can be completed virtually just as, if not to a higher standard, than when workers were at their workstations.  

This makes me wonder if this is a glimpse of the future as we are seeing technology start to eliminate the need for human workers at workstations, and rather puts human workers virtually control workflows and processes from home. 

A survey conducted by Statistics Canada states that 60% of the Province of British Columbia workforce is at a medium to high likelihood of having their jobs impacted by automation in the next 20 years. 

Not only are workers wanting to spend more of their time in a "non-traditional" workplace, but now automation is being implemented to ensure that productivity remains high, yet is cost-effective. 

I see huge opportunities for companies in the building automation space in the next 20 years to pioneer some extremely innovative automation systems that will not only help raise the global economy but also implement some fantastic green concepts to help us all evolve as a planet.

Now if you'll all excuse me…. Law & Order is on! Time for my break.


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