Kramberger: Will West Islanders embrace telecommuting once pandemic protocols are over?

Telecommuting isn’t for everyone, but those who have adapted over the past couple of years may want to stay out of the office.

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As many West Island students still wear masks in their classrooms despite Quebec no longer making them mandatory, there is a good chance that many workers who have been forced to working from home since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic hope not to return to the office, at least full-time.

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More than 90% of students, including high school classes in Pointe-Claire, still wear their masks, according to eyewitnesses.

The Lester B. Pearson School Board is still offering free masks to students and has asked its elementary and secondary schools to allow mask-wearing in classrooms. For now, masks are still mandatory in common areas of schools and on school buses.

As government protocols for masks and COVID vaccination passports are phased out, I anticipate many employees will seek hybrid solutions, such as venturing into the office only a few times a week, or perhaps a few times a month to brainstorming and staff meetings.

Of course, there will be telework naysayers who might point out that not everyone can work from home — from healthcare workers to retail staff — and that people should just be happy to have a job. But working from home has many advantages. It eliminates rush-hour trips by car or public transit, there’s no need to pack lunch, and it allows some to stay in comfortable casual outfits instead of adhering to an office dress code. For some, working from home means no after-school care (which for parents of young children might not be a blessing if it interferes with the last hours of their work day).

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Given the high cost of gasoline, reduced car travel through telecommuting could be a perk demanded of employers, as could demands for more vacation days or pay raises.

Employees returning to work in the office could also request air purifiers and improved ventilation as a health precaution.

One might fear that the promotion of telecommuting will affect the booming REM light rail network in the West Island, but there will always be students and workers who will have to travel to the center. -city of Montreal. It will take at least two more years before the REM stations covering a section from Pointe-Claire to Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue and another section passing through Pierrefonds are put into service. This should give municipal and transit authorities enough leeway to plan drop-off areas and additional bus connections for West Island REM stations as well as negotiate with mall owners. nearby for adequate parking in Kirkland and Pointe-Claire.


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