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Illustration by Drew Shannon

After two-and-a-half years, much of the country is returning to a life that resembles some form of pre-pandemic normalcy. For those who have been working from home, calls to return to the office are growing louder. While some employers are mandating several days a week in the office, many employees are not ready to give up their new-found flexibility.

Are you feeling unsure about heading back to the office or starting a hybrid work week? To help ease this transition, we’ve put together a back-to-office guide, including reads on the impact of inflation, what to wear and why you should embrace PowerPoint presentations.

Employers and workers are divided over the fate of remote work

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The Globe and Mail

Most parts of the country have resumed some semblance of life before March, 2020 – gyms are open and filled with people; concert arenas, sports centres and movie theatres are packed; festivals of all kinds have taken place again, Vanmala Subramaniam, Patrick Egwu and Clare O’Hara report.

But the office has been an exception, and many buildings in the downtown cores of major cities are still largely empty. Now, since many people aren’t voluntarily returning, some employers are beginning to make it compulsory for employees to come back into the office for a minimum number of days a week. Employees, meanwhile, have mixed feelings.

Tips from four chief remote officers on how to successfully manage working away from the office

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People walk through the financial district in Downtown Toronto.Adetona omokanye/The Globe and Mail

Four chief remote officers – all of whom have managed thousands of employees working out of their homes for at least two years – talk to Vanmala Subramaniam about the challenges they have faced, but also why and how they intend to continue letting their employees work remotely.

Don’t want to return to the office? Here are the industries with the highest share of remote job postings in Canada

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The Bay Street Financial District in Toronto on Aug. 5.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

White-collar professionals will find that attitudes and expectations toward fully remote jobs vary across industries, according to an analysis of Canadian job postings. Tech and marketing workers looking to permanently embrace the work-from-home lifestyle have plenty of options, but those in law and banking may be disappointed.

Erica Alini reports on which industries in the country have the highest share of remote job postings, according to two separate data analyses by job search sites Indeed Canada and ZipRecruiter.

City centres fall behind outlying regions in returning to office, Environics data shows

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Streetcars, cyclists and auto traffic head west along the Queen St. Viaduct in Toronto, on June 13, 2022.Fred Lum/the Globe and Mail

In Mississauga, as well as neighbouring Toronto, the aggregate number of days people spent at a regular workplace in July was still 40 per cent lower than in January, 2020, before the pandemic lockdowns began, according to research conducted by Environics Analytics. Meanwhile, workplace levels in Maple Ridge, in B.C.’s Fraser Valley, were actually 24 per cent higher than before the pandemic, Jason Kirby reports.

A similar dichotomy emerges across Canada’s five largest cities, which Environics Analytics analyzed at the more microscopic level of forward sortation areas, meaning the first three characters in postal codes. Drilling down to that level shows city centres falling behind outlying regions in returning to the office.

For these Canadians, returning to the ‘office’ looks a little different

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Christopher Caira and Lorraine Sit, co-founders of the The Maker Bean Cafe in Toronto.Adetona omokanye/The Globe and Mail

While many Canadians are being called back to the office this fall, some have decided that four walls and a laptop no longer suit them. Irene Galea talked to workers who, after reassessing their careers during the pandemic, are trading in the nine-to-five grind for less traditional jobs working on their feet, in the great outdoors or with a whole new skill set.

For every death-by-PowerPoint article, there’s an employee mastering the art of office presentations

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The Globe and Mail

The world PowerPoint has made is the result of giving humans a powerful, versatile tool and standing back, Benjamin Errett writes. From this stems the truism that “if you want to understand an organization, ask to see the PowerPoint,” which can arguably be extended to all civilization.

It’s easy to hate on the slide show computer program, but since it first arrived to workplaces 35 years ago, it has helped make communication more equitable. Each slide is a thin slice of the crooked timber of humanity, showing that who we are is occasionally incomprehensible. When you look at our collective PowerPoint output, you see hubris, ingenuity and occasional flashes of clarity. For your PowerPoint to shine, just remember to make it big, keep it short and have a point.

Going back to the office? It will cost you

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Catherine Harris outside her home in Toronto, on April 28. Ms. Harris estimates she’ll spend about $500 on office-worthy attire in the next few weeks.Tijana Martin/The Globe and Mail

Canadians returning to the office are finding that trading the kitchen table or home studio for corporate quarters is squeezing not only their free time, but also their wallet. Workers going back to the office aren’t just adding new or long-forgotten costs to their monthly budgets – they’re also finding that many of those expenses are much higher than they were before the pandemic.

To be sure, a lot of Canadians who can’t perform their duties remotely have borne those costs all along. But for many of the roughly 30 per cent of workers who got used to labouring from the comfort of their homes, going back to the office is peeling back a layer of protection against the impact of inflation. Erica Alini writes about the increased cost of returning to the office.

What to wear back to the office: Timeless, versatile investment pieces are key

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Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, wears a work look that is classic and pragmatic: Roomy pants and a relaxed blazer are investment buys you can wear this season and beyond.Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

As more of us start heading back to the office with some regularity, the question of what to wear to work is more pressing than ever. So much of our pre-pandemic office wardrobes are either out of style, don’t fit any more or feel like relics from another era, one where we willingly endured uncomfortable heels, hard pants and lengthy daily commutes.

To prepare for a stylish return, it may be tempting to turn to pop prints and fast fashion to add newness to your wardrobe. But with hybrid work life the new normal for many of us, experts say it’s a better bet to invest in timeless, all-season pieces that are equally luxe, comfortable and polished. Truc Nguyen writes about their recommendations.

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