Heart of Orléans BIA

A Day in the Life of A Government Employee

If you’re considering a career with the federal government, you might be wondering: what does a typical work day look like? Depending on the job type and individual, you would likely get a different answer every time. 


Olréans is home to over 8000 federal employees, most of whom worked from home during the pandemic. This was good for our local economy as employees shopped, dined and obtained services here instead of near their place of work or on their way home. Today we continue to see federal employees working from Orléans either full time or in a hybrid workplace. 


The hybrid workplace is a model that combines elements of both remote work and office work, providing options for where work can be done. Hybrid work has changed the way we look at employment. It offers more flexibility which often means improvements in productivity, work-life balance and mental health. The BIA is advocating for even more. We would like to see the hybrid workplace mean part time from home and part time from a local GC-coworking location like the one located at Place D’Orléans.


We caught up with a public servant living in Orléans, who shall remain nameless, and had a closer look at some of the things that might come into play in the ‘typical’ hybrid workplace. In this scenario, it’s not a “work from home day” but a “work at the office” day. We compare going to the office at a local GC-coworking space with going to the office at Place du Portage. 


Working from a GC-coworking space:

7:40 AM – Gather laptop, phone, purse and car keys and head to work.

7:50 AM – Pick up coffee and breakfast of champions “to go” from Kozy Nest on the way.

7:55 AM – Arrive at the GC-coworking space on the second floor of Place D’Orléans

8:00 AM – Log into the network and check calendar for meetings that could have been an email.

10:00 AM – Bathroom break and quick walk around the mall.

10:15 AM – Back to work

10:30 AM – Meeting with supervisor at Beyond Café.

11:15 AM- Back to coworking space to continue working.

12:00 PM – Swing by Fraser Cleaners to pick up dry cleaning

12:10 PM – Pick up a salad at St. Martha’s Brasserie. PSA: If you haven’t tried La salade Ste-Marthe, you are missing out!

12:15 PM – Devour salad back at coworking station and pop a breath mint (solely for my coworkers’ benefit) 

12:30 PM – Back to work.

2:00 PM – BIO Break and pick up bubble tea from Real Fruit Bubble Tea in the mall.

2:15 PM – Head over to the Holiday Inn Express and Suites to one of their three meeting rooms for a large hybrid meeting that includes people working from home, out of town colleagues staying at the hotel and in-person government employees. 

3:30 PM – Head back over to the coworking space for that last push to accomplish the to-do list.

4:00 PM – Finish work.

4:10 PM – A ten minute bang trim at Blades Hair Salon 

4:25 PM – A beer with out of town colleagues at Stray Dog Brewing Company (obviously ordered a round of Roundabout –  Orléans Official beer)

5:30 PM – Arrive at home


Now let’s compare that to going into the office at Place du Portage using transit because you don’t have a $190/month parking permit. Please note that the times indicated for travelling from Orléans using transit are actual times captured from trips planned using The OC Transpo Planner on July 27, 2023. 


Working from Place du Portage

5:57 AM – Gather backpack with laptop, water bottle, lunch bag filled with freezer pack, sandwich and snacks, phone, purse, keys, umbrella, Presto Pass and walk to bus stop. Who needs weight training when lifting this backpack?!

6:05 AM – Arrive at the bus stop near home.

6:10 AM – Take the 39 bus to Blair O-Train Station. Attempt to read but the bus seat neighbour won’t stop talking about her cat doing tricks that morning.

6:41 AM – Arrive at Blair O-Train Station.  The Light Rail Transit (LRT) is not working today! 

6:42 AM – Mumble inappropriate swear words to self.

6:53 AM – First bus arrives but is too full to ram more bodies on it, despite the bus driver telling passengers to move back so more people can fit. It’s like Tetris for people!

6:55 AM – Pull out an umbrella as it starts to sprinkle while waiting for the next bus.

6:57 AM – Mutter more swear words under breath.

7:00 AM – Second bus arrives. Scramble to close the umbrella without taking anyone’s eye out and pack on to the bus feeling thankful for deodorant. 

7:01 AM – Take the R1 Bus to Albert/Bank and walk to the next stop.

7:53 AM – Take the 31 bus to Place D’Accueil 

7:54 AM – Walk briskly to Place du Portage to make it on time to work.

8:05 AM – Arrive at Place du Portage 5 minutes late and sprint to desk, sweating and wheezing for air hoping no one notices. Memo to self: Start going to gym.

8:09AM – Unpack backpack, put lunch and snacks in questionable fridge, grab a coffee that has likely been sitting in the pot for a while based on the sludge on the bottom of pot, return to desk, set up laptop and log on to network.

8:15 AM –  Start to work.

10:00 AM – Head to the water cooler, fill up the water bottle and obtain all the latest water cooler gossip.

10:15 AM – Back to work

10:30 AM – Meeting with supervisor in a colab/kitchen space decorated with 80’s cast-off furniture complete with the lingering smell of microwaved fish. Who has fish for breakfast anyway?!

12:00 PM – Go to the kitchen area to grab lunch but someone has stolen a sandwich.

12:04 PM – A quick walk to grab a wrap at Place du Centre. Needed a quick escape for the good of all co-workers.

12:30 PM – Back to work at Place du Portage.

2:00 PM – Take a quick BIO break and scour the building twice to find a quiet boardroom to log into Microsoft Teams for a 2:30 PM meeting. 

2:29 PM – Finally find a free boardroom and share with a few fellow colleagues on the same scavenger hunt for a boardroom.

2:30 PM – Hybrid Team meeting in the boardroom. Wishing I was back in Orléans too as colleagues seamlessly jump on Microsoft Teams from their homes and coworking spaces.

4:15 PM –  Finish work (make up for being late in morning), log off the network and repack backpack. 

4:20 PM – Use the bathroom. (You remember what your mama taught ya before a long trip!) 

4:30 PM – Walk to bus stop Promenade Terrasses de la Chaudière

4:41 PM – Take Bus 85 

4:46 PM – Arrive at PIMISI B (3010) and walk to station PIMISI D

4:56 PM – Arrive at PIMISI D (3010) and take Bus 75

5:05 PM – Arrive at Parliament and pray for a seat on the bus to Blair.

5:13 PM Take Bus 12 to Blair. There are no seats so proceed to hang on for dear life to avoid bumping into people and/or falling into a strangers lap. This is not the beginning of a romantic comedy after all and the chance of meeting a soulmate on this bus is relatively slim.

5:43 PM Arrive at Blair and walk to the bus platform. 

6:04 PM – Get on Bus 39 along with a gentleman who is very passionate and vocal about how he feels about our government.

6:06 PM – Change seats and instead listen to the smacking of gum and music coming from a student’s headphones.

6:29 PM – Arrive at Orléans Bus Stop and walk home. 

6:38 PM – Arrive at home.


What are your thoughts? Is productivity higher when employees work closer to home or is productivity higher when an employee is surrounded by their work peers? Is it different for each person? Is there better work/life balance working from home?  Should employees have the option of working from home full time, part time or not at all? Would the response be different if we had a better transit system? What do you think?