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Do you work from home?

A recent survey shows more Alberta companies are offering the option of telecommuting

Jim Kerr is Alberta Venture's web editor. Get in touch with him at jkerr@albertaventure.com.

Jan 16, 2014

by Jim Kerr

How much time do you spend commuting to and from work each day?

For most Albertans, that commute probably involves bumper-to-bumper traffic, navigating their city’s busy public transit system or a short jaunt on foot – but that’s not the case for an increasing number of people.

A recent BMO Commercial Banking survey of our country’s work force looked into the practice of telecommuting, which they describe as “a work arrangement where employees work from home or other locations, rather than coming into the office.” The results show that 49 per cent of employees in Alberta are given the option of telecommuting, up 15 per cent from the year before. Despite the increase though, Alberta still sits below the national average of 56 per cent.

According to the survey, 74 per cent of employees in the province said telecommuting has a positive impact on employee morale, 66 per cent said it has a positive impact on productivity and 63 per cent reported an improvement in the quality of work being put in.

If those numbers are to be believed, and The Calgary Herald spoke to one expert who questions the metrics used, it would appear that businesses in the province are quickly trending towards work from home arrangements. With an ever-increasing amount of companies using cloud-based systems and relying heavily on internet connectivity for work purposes, it makes a lot of sense that the “traditional” office would see some changes.

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Another reason we’re seeing such a shift is likely that work from home arrangements often benefit both the employer and the employee in different ways. For the employer, they have the ability to downsize their office space and save on costs there, from coffee, to power use, even right down to office supplies. For the employee, they gain the ability to control their workspace, they avoid long commutes and working from home tends to be viewed as being less stressful than being at the office.

Does your company offer telecommuting as an option? As an employee, is that something you feel you would benefit from? If you’re an employer, is telecommuting something you’ve considered?

Whatever your take on the issue, it seems that the more “connected” the average Albertan becomes (A Google report says 56 per cent of Canadians use a smartphone), the more common this type of arrangement will become.

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