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Reboot Canada

Returning to the workplace with resilience

As the curve continues to flatten, businesses and society must consider what returning to normal may look like. Although organizations have settled into new ways of working, the implications of COVID-19 for businesses, especially as they relate to the workforce, will remain long lasting. 

The question of when and how to gradually bring employees back to the workplace represents one of the most critical challenges organizations will need to solve. 

Leaders will need to consider a workforce strategy that meets the evolving needs of their business and provides the required support for their people. They must learn from the first stage of their crisis response to build resilience and future-proof their organization from further disruption. 

Returning to the workplace isn’t just bringing employees back into the physical space, but it’s also about finding opportunities to adjust business models and workforce structure to thrive in the new era of business.

The benefits of a robust return-to-workplace strategy

Enhanced organizational resilience and compliance
Competitive advantage and new opportunities to help you thrive
Improved workforce productivity

Defining your return-to-workplace plan 

There are four key elements of a return-to-workplace plan.

Health and safety, privacy and social responsibility
Protect your employees, including their privacy, and reinforce your commitment to social responsibility.

Work organization and technology
Ensure your return-to-workplace plan reflects your organization’s realities and capture opportunities to revisit your operating model and organizational structure.

Financial performance
Prepare for fluctuating demand after the initial crisis period and explore opportunities for new revenue streams and cost efficiencies.

Worker needs, preferences and skills 
Put employees at the heart of the return-to-workplace planning process and consider the different scenarios. Revisit the way you manage skills in the short and the long term.

How we can help 

In unprecedented times it can be challenging knowing if you’re headed in the right direction or even where to start. Regardless of where you’re at in your return-to-workplace plan, we can help you get the most of it, setting your organization and people up for success and building resilience for years to come.

Where are you in your return-to-workplace planning process?

Challenge an existing return-to-workplace plan

Our mutli-disciplanary team will carefully assess your existing return-to-workplace plan, identifying opportunities for cost savings, improved worker productivity, enhanced health, safety, and privacy protocols, and a reimagined employee experience. 

We’ll draw from best-in-class examples using our global centre of excellence and ensure your plan accurately reflects the results you want to achieve.

Build a return-to-workplace plan

Our three-step process will help you develop a return-to -workplace plan quickly that’s customized to the things that matter most to your business. Our expert team will help you explore opportunities to emerge stronger from the crisis, with a focus on digital tools and practices that will upskill your people and better prepare your organization for the workforce of the future.

Getting the most of your return-to-workplace plan with technology

The pandemic has opened our eyes into how quickly the world can change and has emphasized the importance of being able to move with speed and agility. Real-time insights can quickly identify opportunities and help you lead your business with confidence.

The choice of return-to-workplace technologies must be informed by a robust and comprehensive strategy that considers the right internal and external inputs. Defining the technology strategy prior to vendor selection and implementation lowers the operational, privacy and financial risk, ensuring organizational buy-in, and increasing the overall impact by aligning return-to-workplace processes and tools with broader organizational goals.

Our return-to-workplace technology framework will help you assess and right-size the emerging and complex return-to-workplace technologies that will be the most beneficial to your business.

Enable technology in three key areas:

Technologies that optimize matching the talent supply to short term and long term work demand.

Supported functionalities include:
  • Job architecture and workforce planning
  • Short term forecasting and scheduling
  • Strategic workforce planning
  • Skills and capability analysis
  • Business continuity management
  • Job hazard analysis

Workplace planning

  • Productivity monitoring
  • Collaboration
  • Hoteling
  • Workplace analytics and insights
  • Workplace design (occupancy management and congestion supervision)

Technologies that actively track the workforce health and safety risk factors, while keeping privacy in check.

Supported functionalities include:

Diagnosis and health status reporting

  • Self-serve medical screening providers
  • Medical surveillance solutions
  • Diagnosis status
  • Thermal scanners, testing kits

Contact tracing

  • Proximity detection, distance alerts,  
  • Mobile, wearables, real-time location, automated manual
  • Case management and investigation
  • Intelligent workplace access control

Technologies that sense and consolidate workforce trends, needs and preferences as a pipeline to upskilling and future of work architecture.

Supported functionalities include:

Worker preferences

  • Work location
  • Degree of people interaction required in role
  • Workplace navigator (Wayfinder)
  • Digital Upskilling 

Life after lockdown

Webinar replay

Held on May 1, 2020, a panel of PwC specialists discuss return-to-work strategies and managing your workforce in the new normal.

Watch now

Lead in a virtual world 

We’re on the edge of a new world of work—one brimming with possibilities to reimagine the way we use technology to collaborate, innovate and deliver differently. But our ability to do so is only as good as the leaders who recognize the opportunities in virtual work environments and can lead their workforce effectively.

Learn more



Contact us

Jean McClellan

Jean McClellan

National Consulting People and Organization Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 403 509 7578

Baya  Benouniche

Baya Benouniche

Partner, People and Organization, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 514 205 5409

Kathy Parker

Kathy Parker

Partner, People and Organisation, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 687 9014

Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman

Partner, HR Transformation, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 815 5008