Working from home for the long-term isn’t beneficial, CIBC CEO says

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permanent work-from-home The arrangement may not be beneficial to companies in the long term, says Victor Dodig, chief executive of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and could spark divisions between front-line workers who come to work and others who may not have an alternative. are given.

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During an annual public policy conference on Tuesday, Mr. Dodig said most company work “still needs to be done in collaboration,” and that it involves some level of interaction between people to deliver services or products, Especially for businesses that make the “hard stuff”. But also the ones that make the “soft stuff”.

“Right now, you are seeing a view that you can do everything from home. But you can’t build a company, and a company culture that is cohesive is just working from home,” Mr Dodig told an online audience during the Public Policy Forum Growth Summit.

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Like many Canadian companies, CIBC has repeatedly pushed There are plans for employees to return to corporate offices after the number of daily COVID-19 cases surged across the country. The bank has adopted a hybrid working system In which some employees work from home while others keep working face to face with customers.

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But having a longer-term hybrid arrangement could also create a divide among some workers – a division Mr Dodig said he has known from day one of the pandemic.

“That’s something we need to recognize as we move forward and make sure we don’t create two classes of citizens – one who always has to be on the front lines and the other who get a choice,” he said. said.

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About 40 per cent of the bank’s workforce – over 18,000 employees – are classified as essential workers and have therefore not been allowed to work from home during the past 18 months.

“Pharmacy workers, hospital workers, grocery store workers, our garbage collectors, they always had to be on the front lines – as well as our banking workers who had to live in our banking centers and work in our safes. Had to. Making sure the bank moves forward every day,” Mr Dodig said. “So, his life hasn’t changed.”

He said unvaccinated children and public transport remain an area of ​​”panic” for frontline workers and those yet to return to offices.

“But it’s all about getting used to things again and doing things safely.”

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He said there are still many factors to monitor as the pandemic eases, including the cessation of government benefits and the role of immigration in the labor market.

“Many immigrants who come to our country have played a role in a broadly defined essential service sector and we will need such people,” Mr Dodig said. “If our economy grows, we will need skilled labor to attract the best and brightest people to Canada.”

Last month, increased unemployment benefits for millions of Americans ended after nearly 18 months, and the Canadian Recovery Benefit is set to close at the end of this month.

“In Canada, you still have a bridge to the future. And the government announced another bridge to the industries that have been most affected, which I think is the right thing to do,” said Mr. Dodig .

“But in the end, we need to get back to some kind of normalcy where it is not a government lifeline that is propelling the economy. I think what happens is, in six to 12 months’ time, you will start seeing the world go back to normal because a lot of it has been disrupted because of the pandemic. “

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