Blog Post

What will your hybrid workplace actually look like?

By: Marco Campana
August 11, 2021

tl;dr: No one knows quite yet, but it's best to start preparing and learning!

This post comes out of an interesting LinkedIn post and I thought it is probably something others are starting to look into. I'm not a lawyer, nor an expert in this area, but it's an area that definitely intersects with the Settlement Sector & Technology Task Group final report. I feel that we may not have given enough attention and structure to these practical questions in the Task Group report (other than suggesting it be looked into ASAP). So, I'm interested in the discussion and what others might be doing in the sector to tackle this. I'm going to copy the initial discussion post and article shared on the LinkedIn post, along with some links I responded with that I think might be useful.

"I'm reading everything I can get my hands on about what the future of work will look like, as we have these conversations in my workplace. I've already read articles about inevitable changes to employment and occupational health and safety legislation if the home becomes primary work location for salaried employees (different from contracts or purchase of service). As an employer do I have the obligation - or right - to inspect these premises to ensure minimum standards if I'm going to be held accountable? What about the concept of privacy - a lot of this feels like the eventual erosion of rights of the employee. what about ALL the related costs? In the nonprofit world, overhead is a dirty word and this change process is not cost neutral."

Here's my response:

"Iā€™m curious what this conversation looks like in the sector? For example earlier this year OCASI put out an RFP to address exactly these questions for its office. They've started sharing what they've learned, and will continue to do so, so the entire sector has some useful and consistent starting points.

My understanding is that OCASI is still working on this project, but for sure what is learned in that process will be useful to the entire sector" (and if that consultant was excellent, he's got a pretty secure near-term future of work in the sector! šŸ™‚ ).

Here's the rest of my comments on the LinkedIn post where I shared what I hope might be useful and related resources. Perhaps there are some useful bits here, but I'm really interested in what others might be doing and thinking about in your organizations. Please post, comments, questions, and what you're doing.

I haven't seen too many frameworks on this yet, but I'm wondering if the Ontario Nonprofit Network might be looking into some of this as well, as part of their COVID resources.

The other place I would suggest looking is employment lawyers. Lexology is an interesting site where you can get a daily email newsletter on a variety of legal topics, including Employment & Labour law in Canada. You can refine your search by topic and jurisdiction (including down to Ontario). Here's a search of employment and labour articles/info in Ontario.

I imagine employment lawyers (most with an employer focus/client base) are writing/thinking about this and there might be useful insights (if you can wade through some of the implicit anti-worker/union bias some of these lawyers have...).

I imagine you're not the only person pondering all of this. I'll continue reaching out to folks I know to see where they're looking. Seems like a pan-Canadian topic all organizations are going to start wondering about very soon...

Also, the HRPA is likely working on this as well, and may have some useful resources here.

This webinar recording came through Lexology today, might be of interest (I haven't watched it fully yet), in particular the last point below:

"As COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, many businesses are preparing for a return to the physical workspace ā€“ the "office." Join our panel of speakers for a timely discussion exploring a range of pressing "return to office" topics, including:

  • Bringing your employees back to the office and preparing a "return to work safety plan"
  • Dealing with employees who refuse to return to the office or make requests for accommodation
  • Key considerations for employers implementing flexible remote work arrangements post-pandemic" (this part of the presentation, which you might be particularly interested in, starts here:

Full video here:

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