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Anytime, Anywhere: Telecommuting to Save Money, Minutes and Carbon

A survey by Workopolis found that a single day of telecommuting by Canada's workers could save $120 million and 60 kilograms of carbon emissions. Photo by Doug.

A recent survey by Workopolis, a Canadian website offering online career solutions, found that 88 percent of Canadian workers agree that there should be government support for a nationally recognized day for teleworking. Teleworking, or telecommuting, is an arrangement between employers and employees to replace commuting to a central place of work with telecommunication links while working from home.

The survey also finds that the average Canadian spends 42 minutes commuting to and from work each day and allocates $269 each month on commuting costs, of which $146 is solely dedicated to transportation. When summed up, the survey finds that Canadian workers spend 182 hours and $3,000 on commuting every year.

“Work is not a place you go anymore, it’s something that you do and increasingly something for many workers that can be done anytime and from anywhere,” said Gabriel Bouchard, president of Workopolis. “Technology is changing the very nature of work. Forward-thinking employers are waking up to this new reality, changing their approach and seeing the benefits of new smarter working practices, including remote working, which also reduces transportation costs.”

According to Digital Journal, 69 percent of Canadian commuters rely on private vehicles, and only 20 percent take public transit. The article also reports that 12 percent of commuters walk and 4 percent ride a bicycle to work. (Another study we featured in this week’s Research Recap found that up to 82 percent of Canadian workers drive to work.)

Based on the 2006 Canada Census, there are 18 million people over the age of 15 who are currently employed in Canada and more than two-thirds of this group relies on private vehicles for commuting. If a national teleworking day was recognized, this could mean a savings of $120 million for Canadian workers and more than 60 kilograms of carbon emissions.

“High gas prices, growing concerns for the environment and a desire for greater work-life balance, are coming together to create the perfect storm for a remote culture for Canadian workers,” Bouchard said. “Smart employers will have this on their radar. With a looming labour shortage it is becoming increasingly important for employers to set themselves apart to attract and retain top talent.”

How much does your annual commute cost? Would you ever try telecommuting?

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