Telework Impacts on the Real Estate Industry in Alberta

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Total Funded: $200,000
Location: , Alberta

The Alberta real estate industry has experienced and will continue to experience change over the years to come. According to recent research—as vaccination programs roll out across Canada—employees have already started to express concerns around returning to the office full-time with recent polls indicating over 80% of workers would prefer to adopt a flexible work arrangement (PWC, 2020 Canadian Pulse Survey), and when asked if required to fully return to the office, 29%, “would look for another job” (International Workplace Group 2021).

In May 2020, Stats Canada released data on the provincial and sectoral capacity for telework. The Alberta market holds an opportunity for 39% of jobs to be done remotely (Stats Canada, 2020). To note, roughly 13% of Canadians engaged in telework in some capacity pre-COVID, meaning that there could be potential for work-from-home (WFH) to increase by 27% post-COVID (Stats Can, 2020). These numbers represent a shift in workplace culture that will significantly influence the real estate market and building usage across Albertan communities over the short and long-term. The research findings and resources developed and shared through this project will support the Alberta real estate community for years to come.

Building on a recent research project with RFS Energy that SAIT completed for the City of Edmonton to support their Remote Work Program, and relationships built through a municipal WFH working group with 9 Alberta communities (Calgary, Strathcona, Lethbridge, Airdrie, Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Leduc, Edmonton, Spruce Grove, and St. Albert), the proposed project will focus on how WFH impacts the Alberta real estate market, including gathering data and researching the current and future status of:
• Economic, zoning, and tax implications to communities and downtown cores
• Commercial facility space – such as downsizing and design implications
• Residential purchase practices – including location (e.g. moving outside of city centers), space needs/size (e.g. Home office needs), retrofit considerations, and housing affordability


The Alberta Real Estate Foundation’s 30th Anniversary Legacy Grants program supports distinctive and high-impact projects which drive transformational long-term change to advance the real estate industry and real estate across Alberta.