Telecommuting is here to stay

Are you an employee who wants to reduce your commuting time, or a business owner looking for talent that may not be available in your community? If the answer is yes to any of the above, you may be interested in options created by use of telecommuting.

But what exactly is telecommuting, and who is using it?

Telecommuting is a word used to describe working arrangements that eliminate a commute to a common workplace, and often result in the employee working at some other location, often their own home. Similar to telecommuting, telework is defined as working from somewhere that is not your office, including satellite offices and co-working spaces. Telecommuting is widely accepted by many organizations, largely due to advancements in online messaging, video conferencing and cloud-based application services. And it looks like telecommuting is here to stay.

A recent U.S. labour market report shows that 3.9 million employees, or 2.9 percent of the country’s total labour force, work from home at least half the time, up from 1.8 million in 2005. By 2013, a study shared by Forbes Magazine showed that number increasing to over 30 million employees working from home at least one day a week. Here in Western Canada, Telus offers telecommuting jobs to potential staff, and WestJet now permits members of their call centre to field calls from home.

The increase in telecommuting is not a surprise, considering what it offers both employers and employees. For employers, the advantages include increased staff retention, improved employee satisfaction, increased productivity and fewer employee sick days. Telecommuting arrangements can also reduce an organization’s environmental footprint and lower real estate and information technology costs, because telecommuters may use their own workspace and equipment. Telecommuting also means the employee talent pool can be province-wide, including workers in rural areas.

For employees, advantages include time and money saved by not commuting, not having to travel to work when the weather is bad and overall improvement to their work-life balance.

For telecommuters in rural areas, the advantages include the opportunity to work in their chosen community. This can help families stay together and provide employees with opportunities to work within a chosen field.

Telecommute options can also make high-paying jobs available to remote or rural areas, such as Indigenous communities in northern B.C., helping to stimulate the local economy and leading to more local jobs.  WorkBC.ca supports employers to find talent and jobseekers to find jobs: