Many people are now working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic and for a number of employees and employers it’s working out better than expected.

If enough offices embrace it as their new way of operating post-pandemic it could have multiple implications.

The Nanaimo offices of Smythe CPA would normally be bustling as tax deadlines approach but this spring has been anything but normal.

Their staff is as busy as ever but in light of COVID-19 all but a skeleton crew is working from home.

“It’s going very well,” says Trevor Topping, a Partner at Smythe CPA.

“The first week of office closures and having everyone work from home was definitely a week of transition but I think everyone’s really quickly adapted to it and gotten used to it and a lot of people are really enjoying it.”

It’s gone so well it has the firm, with 200 staff in three BC offices, rethinking its future.

“If we can have part of the workforce work from home or even have people work from home sometimes and sometimes come in there’s definitely a lot of cost savings to the firm,” said Topping.

“There’s less office space required. Even having everything done virtually cuts down on the amount of paper we use and the amount of energy we use.”

This falls in line with a national poll by Research Co. that found 73% of Canadians think more people will “definitely” or “probably” work from home than before once the COVID-19 outbreak ends.

In light of COVID-19 cost pressures, the city of Nanaimo has dropped its traffic count program but the city’s engineering director says there are fewer vehicles on the road.

“Certainly, anecdotally it’s much much lower than normal,” said Poul Rosen. “It would be the equivalent of a holiday day like Christmas.”

And if enough companies adapted to more staff working from home Paul Rosen says it could change the demands for new roads and highways.

“What is the new normal going to be after this? Are a lot more people going to be telecommuting or working remotely going forward?” asked Rosen.

“Two years from now things could be substantially different than they were in 2019 and we just don’t know what that’s going to be at this point. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Those at Smythe CPA say if working remotely boosts employee morale, keeps cars off the road and saves money it’s an option worth seriously exploring.

Kendall Hanson