Teleworking could influence the design of cities of the future

Teleworking has changed the lives of many employees and could also influence the design of cities of the future. The journalist and host Pierre-Olivier Zappa went to meet employees and specialists to take stock of this new working method.

In Montreal, nearly 20% of office spaces are unoccupied, which is twice as many empty premises as before the pandemic.

20% of office spaces are unoccupied in Montreal | TVA News

For a professional couple who earn their living by spending 90% of their time teleworking, this way of working has allowed them to reconcile family and professional needs much more easily.

“It’s the solution that I find the most practical and the easiest,” confides in an interview the woman who works for a state company, Emanuelle René De Cotret.


Emanuelle René De Cotret | TVA News

Parents of a little girl, the couple admit that family life is coordinated much better this way.

“We are cutting a lot of transportation time,” says the man who works in finance, Louis Clément. It allows you to have a little more time at work and a little more time at home.”


Teleworking could influence the design of cities of the future

Louis Clement | TVA News

According to the senior associate at La Tête recherche, Elisabeth Starenkyj, teleworking is now “a given”.

“We’ve been in this mode for almost 4 years, so today this mode is part of employers’ operations, part of their way of working and it’s expected,” she explains.

The sum of vacant offices in Greater Montreal could fill the equivalent of at least 13 times Place Ville Marie and this trend will grow over the next decade.


Teleworking could influence the design of cities of the future

An aerial photo of Place Ville Marie | TVA News

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

“We are going to have smaller city centers,” says a specialist in commercial strategy, Philippe R. Bertrand. We are moving away from city centers and creating microdistricts.”

“This brings significant challenges because once again, a city collects a lot of taxes, commercial taxes – it is much more profitable to have commercial taxes than residential taxes,” he adds.


Teleworking could influence the design of cities of the future

Philippe R. Bertrand | TVA News

Data from the latest study indicates that more than a third (35%) of Quebec workers have tried teleworking, which is much higher than elsewhere in the country (26%).

For the small family who has become accustomed to working from home, a return to the office would be “disappointing”.

“The nature of my tasks means that the clients with whom I interact are not geographically in the same building where I go face-to-face,” explains Ms. De Cotret.

Her partner nevertheless recognizes that returning to an office tower would allow her to “socialize a little more with colleagues”.

Although the couple is not thrilled about returning to work face-to-face, it is a reality that could well be imposed on them since, as Ms. Starenkyj thinks, teleworking is harmful to businesses.


Teleworking could influence the design of cities of the future

Elisabeth Starenkyj | TVA News

“These are the figures that will demonstrate it,” she believes. There are companies that have demonstrated this and it is not for nothing that large employers are currently reducing employees to four days in the office, sometimes five days.”

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

In this context, several employers dream of being able to bring employees back to the office, in particular to facilitate management.

“To manage people remotely […] it was necessary to review the management processes to be able to evaluate performance,” explains Ms. Starenkyj.

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

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