Okanagan tech companies eye up working from home permanently | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan tech companies eye up working from home permanently

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As Okanagan tech companies pivot toward a permanent work-from-home model, one CEO of a Kelowna tech company says he's itching to return to the office, at least part-time.

“We probably won’t ever go back to work the same as before. We’ve had a lot of interest expressed in working from home and so we’ll probably continue that into the future and beyond,” said Corey Wagner, CEO of Bananatag, a communications company that is moving to a hybrid model of both using its office and working from home.

“I’m definitely adjusting to it. It’s been different than going into the office but I think I’m also looking forward to in the future, doing a couple of days in the office and a couple of days at home,” he said.

The biggest challenge in the early days of working from home, he said, was never getting away from work.

"I think that was something I felt quite a bit (and) my team felt. When you leave the office around 4 p.m. you’re not at your computer anymore, but all of a sudden being home 4 p.m. turns into 5 p.m. and then 6 p.m. and you realize you’re working in the evenings as well,” he said.

Changing up his routine was also a challenge.

“At this point I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to the office a couple of days a week. Personally, I like being in an office when I work. What’s nice about being at home is the fridge to have lunch there and not eating out for meals,” he said.

There appears to be no rush for Central Okanagan tech companies wanting to reopen their offices, said Accelerate Okanagan CEO Brea Lake.

Larger tech companies are continuing work-from-home models throughout the summer and smaller ones are giving up their leases altogether, she said.

READ MORE: Kelowna tech companies adapting to lifestyle, business changes from isolation

Accelerate Okanagan has seen a spike in its rentable co-working space use.

Originally, Lake said she thought the waitlist for the spaces would die off as COVID-19 restrictions eased, but there’s been an increase in demand as people who have been working from home are craving some dedicated desk time and to get away from the house.

Bananatag will continue to have an office, but Wagner speculates there will be more flexibility with working from both home and the office.

With two offices in Kelowna and one in Vancouver, the company is considering subletting one office in Kelowna out as it’s safer during COVID-19, but the company is providing the office space for those itching to get out of the house, he said.

Wagner believes overall, tech employees will become accustomed to working from home, and they’ve already experienced that shift at Bananatag.

The company has also tried to adjust by providing weekly online hangouts, playing online games as a group to interact with one another, he said.

Tech giants like Amazon and Google are encouraging their employees to work from home at least until 2021.




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