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Remote work could impact the design of future cities

Remote work could impact the design of future cities

Remote work has changed the lives of many employees and could also influence the design of cities of the future. Journalist and host Pierre-Olivier Zappa went to meet employees and specialists to evaluate this new way of working.

• Read also: Is remote work a basic right?

In Montreal, nearly 20% of office space is unoccupied, which is twice the number of empty buildings than before the pandemic.

20% of office space is unoccupied in Montreal | TVA News

For a professional couple who make their living by spending 90% of their time working remotely, this way of working has allowed them to juggle family and professional needs more easily.

“This is the solution that I find the most practical and easiest,” said the woman who works in a government company, Emmanuelle Renée de Cotre, in an interview.

Emmanuel René de Cotteret | TVA News

The couple, parents of the little girl, admit that family life is better coordinated this way.

“We cut a lot of transportation time,” says finance man Louis Kleiman. It allows you to have more time at work and less time at home.

Louis Clement | TVA News

According to senior fellow at La Tête recherche, Elisabeth Starenkij, remote work is now “taken for granted.”

“We have been in this situation for almost 4 years, so today this situation has become part of employers’ operations, part of the way they work and it is expected,” she explains.

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The total office vacancy in Greater Montreal could fill at least 13 times that of Place Ville Marie, and this trend will grow over the next decade.

Aerial photo of Ville Marie Square TVA News

This new concept of office work could also change the paradigm of large urban centers.

Philip R. says: Bertrand, who specializes in commercial strategy: “We will have smaller city centres.” “We are moving away from city centers and creating small areas.”

“This brings big challenges because again, the city collects a lot of taxes, commercial taxes — it's more profitable to have commercial taxes than residential taxes,” he adds.

Philip R. Bertrand | TVA News

Data from the latest study indicates that more than a third (35%) of workers in Quebec have tried remote work, significantly higher than elsewhere in the country (26%).

For a young family accustomed to working from home, the return to the office will be “disappointing”.

“The nature of my tasks means that the clients I interact with are not geographically located in the same building as me face-to-face,” Ms. de Cotteret explains.

However, her partner realizes that returning to the office tower would allow her to “socialize more with colleagues.”

Although the couple are not happy about returning to face-to-face work, this is a reality that can be imposed on them, because, Ms. Starinkij believes, remote work is bad for business.

“These are the numbers that will prove it,” she believes. There are companies that have proven this, and it is no coincidence that large employers are currently reducing the number of employees to four days in the office, and sometimes five days.

According to the expert, “Productivity has decreased [en raison] Lack of “focus” and face-to-face collaboration.

In this context, many employers dream of being able to bring employees back to the office, especially to facilitate management.

“To manage people remotely […] “It was necessary to review management processes so that we could evaluate performance,” Ms. Starnkage explains.

***See Pierre-Olivier Zappa's report in the main video***