HRPA’s Return to Workplace Survey reveals key insights from HR leaders on re-opening safely

Survey highlights concerns for employee wellness and mental health with significant shifts regarding remote work

Toronto, Ontario, June 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) is pleased to announce the results of its 2021 HRPA COVID-19 Return to Workplace Survey.

With Ontario’s pandemic recovery underway, the HRPA conducted this survey to learn more about how HR professionals are preparing their businesses to return to the physical work environment. The survey found that employee wellbeing is top of mind during this transition period, with less than 6% of workplaces looking to bring employees back all at once and just under two-thirds of employers planning to permanently retain or expand remote working options.

Quick Facts:

  • Employee wellbeing is top of mind: 45.7% of survey respondents choosing employee wellness and mental health as their top concern regarding return to workplace planning, closely followed by transitioning employees back to their primary workplace (45.6%).
  • Major shifts regarding remote work:
    • Prior to the pandemic, 52.5% of respondents did not have a remote work or flex work policy (57.5% stating that they created or changed their policies since the pandemic began).
    • In contrast, 64.2% of respondents now say their organizations are planning to permanently retain or expand remote working options, while 26% are still unsure of their plans.
  • Vaccinations: 74.6% are planning to make vaccination voluntary for employees, with 19.7% stating that there will be restrictions for those who are not vaccinated.
  • Employee return: Only 5.6% of respondents plan to bring all their employees back to the workplace at once, with most organizations considering employees coming back in phases (28.8%), staggering employee days in the workplace (24.5%), or a hybrid model.
  • The survey was conducted between May 21 to May 27, 2021, with over 800 participants sharing their insights into how their organizations are planning for the future of work.

The key findings report is available here.


As the province begins loosening restrictions, businesses are turning to HR leaders to prepare their return to in-person work plans. The goal of this survey was to learn how HR professionals and businesses were planning to safely re-open and emerging workplace trends. We’re proud to share these insights from HR professionals provincewide - and know that this survey will be a significant tool for many more HR leaders, businesses and stakeholders deciding how to lead their workforce in a post-pandemic world.” 

  • Louise Taylor Green, CHRL, CHRE, CEO, Human Resources Professionals Association

About HRPA

At the Human Resources Professionals Association, we believe that better HR makes business better. The HRPA ensures that our 24,000 members and students have the most up-to-date tools and the advanced skills to lead our workplaces into the future. We regulate HR professionals in the public interest. Our members are held to the province’s highest standards, so Ontario workplaces can trust us to help unlock business growth and optimize employee potential. Learn more at    

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SOURCE Human Resources Professionals Association