Déconfinement: town centres transformed by the telework?

Déconfinement: les centres-villes transformés par le télétravail?

Forced to adopt massively the telework due to the pandemic, employers might be tempted to never go back, which could change the portrait to the city centre and the commercial streets of Québec.

“There are companies that do not believe at all in teleworking, which, eventually, discover that it is an attractive option,” notes Stephen Cummings, director of public relations and government affairs of the Chamber of commerce and industry of Quebec.

According to him, employers in the region of Quebec have initiated a reflection on the place that they want to give to telework once the storm has passed.

“I’m not ready to say that companies will close their offices and that they will, from one day to the next, fall all at home; however, it is clearly an option that is possible”, he says.

Too soon, says The Capital

On the side of The Capital Insurance and financial services, we know that it is too early to tell if the teleworking could be anchored in a more sustainable way in the ways of the company, which employs about 2000 people in the greater Quebec city region.

However, “there was a certain degree of flexibility for teleworking prior to the pandemic,” and “it is certain that, probably […], the possibilities will be extended after the pandemic,” suggests Jean-Pascal Lavoie, advisor, media relations and public affairs group.

At the present time, because of the pandemic, 97 % of employees from The Capital working in the home in Quebec. The organization remains functional “100 %”, even though it is not always “ideal”, says Mr. Lavoie.

Déconfinement: les centres-villes transformés par le télétravail?

Jonathan Ollat
President of Action promotion Grande Gone

Jonathan Ollat, president of Action promotion Grande Allée, also thinks that the trend of telecommuting is inevitable and that this could affect restaurant owners who have a large business clientele.

“It is sure that it would have an influence on the midi, but I do not think, however, that in the facts, the budgets [of customers for their spending in the restaurants] will really decrease. We will have 10 clients under the midi, and then 10 more in the evening?”, is he asks.

In Montreal

During this time, in Montreal, the reorganisation of work in big companies is already running in the city centre.

With its tower of the boulevard Maisonneuve, deserted to 95% at the time of a pandemic, the consulting firm KPMG anticipates that a good number of its employees will ask to work from home permanently.

“The configuration of [our] offices are likely to be different, with more space between the people, the meeting rooms, the largest, etc, as a result, even with less employees in the office, the size of the occupied space is likely to be the same”, says Benoit Lacoste Bienvenue, associate director for the province of Quebec at KPMG.

The sound of a bell that is comparable to the tour Guide, where one calculates a proportion of approximately 98 % of teleworkers at the present time. The return of the employees will be “optional and based on their individual needs,” says Mylène Bélanger, senior advisor, public relations.

Upheavals in New York

Other major cities such as New York live upheaval similar in their business districts. In Manhattan, companies such as Barclays, Nielsen and Halstead have also announced that they could accommodate fewer employees in their offices, reported the New York Times.

Eventually, they would only have to show up for meetings essential rather than travel in the morning and evening to perform tasks that they can perform at home.

– With the collaboration of Dominique Lelièvre and NumériQ

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