Calgary city workers can voluntarily return to the office

After being sent home to work since March 2020, thousands of city workers now have the option of returning to the office.

City of Calgary allowing its workplaces to have up to 33% capacity as COVID eases

Thousands of city workers have the option of returning to the office starting today. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

After being sent home to work since March 2020, thousands of city workers now have the option of returning to the office.

Starting today, each City of Calgary office workplace will be limited to no more than 33 per cent of its normal capacity.

The measure won't affect thousands of city workers like firefighters, parks employees and truck drivers who remained in their usual workspaces.

But it's a potential change for more than 5,000 city workers who were forced by the pandemic to set up an office at home.

Rush not expected

It's not anticipated it will result in a big noticeable change or overcrowded elevators.

Christopher Collier, the city's director of environmental and safety management, said their offices are traditionally less busy in summer months.

"We don't anticipate getting close to [33 per cent] because a lot of folks will be on holidays," said Collier.

"If people want to pop into the office, even on a hot day like today on a voluntary basis, they're more than welcome to do so. But we do ask that they keep it under the 33 per cent."

He said some people may not be comfortable returning to the office just yet so they can continue working from home.

But he noted some workers might welcome a chance to spend time in the office after more than a year in their home office.

Next step mid-September

The next step for the city's gradual return to the office plan will come after Labour Day.

Collier said all of the staff who have been working from home will be required to be at their office workstation three days a week, starting on Sept. 15.

He said there's good reason to pick that date.

"We wanted to allow parents in particular to have that week after school starts and childcare and things like that get organized and then implement that after [Sept. 15]," he said.

No date has been selected yet for all city staff to be back in their offices. 

He said that decision will depend on the COVID-19 situation later this year.


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