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Telecommuting: a municipal government perspective Robertson, Judith Irene 1994

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TELECOMMUTING: A MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT PERSPECTIVEbyJUDITH IRENE ROBERTSONB.A., The University ofAlberta, 1979A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESSchool of Community and Regional PlanningWe accept this thesis as conformingo the requ st dardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAApril 1994© Judith Irene Robertson, 1994In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at theUniversity of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for referenceand study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarlypurposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It isunderstood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed withoutmy written permission.Department of Graduate StudiesSchool of Community and Regional PlanningThe University ofBritish ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate t7pQJ &, fS9ABSTRACTTelecommuting has been defined in several ways. For the purpose of this paper, telecommuting(also known as teleworking) is defined as the concept of employees performing some portion oftheir regular work activities from a remote location, while receiving their regular salary andbenefits. This remote work location is typically a satellite office, a neighbourhood office or theemployee’s home.Most telecommuting occurs on a part-time basis, one to three days per week. Not every job norevery worker is suitable to telecommute. Although the actual number of telecommuters isunknown, it has been estimated that approximately 7.6 million Americans were telecommuters in1993 -- 6.1% of the total American workforce. If even a slightly smaller proportion oftelecommuters is applied to the Canadian workforce (i.e. 5.75%), there are at least 738,150Canadian telecommuters.While being influenced by many factors, telecommuting has risen in prominence primarily due totransformations in telecommunications and information technology, the nature of work, theworkers, the workplace, urban highway congestion and in some jurisdictions, environmentallegislation. Encouraging the establishment of telework centres and home-based telecommutingcan increase employment opportunities within the community. Reducing the number of daily tripsto a central work place may reduce transportation infrastructure costs (construction andmaintenance) and have a positive effect on the environment (improved air quality and energyconservation). With more people staying within their neighbourhood to work, a greater sense ofcommunity can result.Telecommuting deserves serious attention on the part ofmunicipalities because it can deliver largebenefits in economic, environmental and social terms. This paper is designed to inform, stimulateUdiscussion, and aid in the review of out-dated municipal regulations and procedures as theypertain to telecommuting.111TABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACT iiTABLE OF CONTENTS ivLIST OF TABLES vLIST OF FIGURES AND MAPS viACKNOWLEDGMENTS vii1.0. PURPOSE 12.0. INTRODUCTION 52.1. Telecommuting Defined 52.2. Where Does Telecommuting Occr’ 62.3. Home-Based Businesses 82.4. Emerging Work Options 113.0. RATIONALE FOR TELECOMMUTING 143.1. Society’s Perspective 143.1.1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Telecommuting to Society.... 143.2. Employer’s Perspective 193.2.1. Occupational Change 193.2.2. Business Reengineering 203.2.3. Advantages and Disadvantages of Telecommuting to theEmployer 213.3. Employee’s Perspective 283.3.1. Changing Family Structure 283.3.2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Telecommuting to theEmployee 324.0. IMPLEMENTATION OF TELECOMMIJTING 384.1. Suitable Jobs or Tasks 384.2. Government Involvement in Telecommuting Programs 404.2.1. GreatBritam 404.2.2. United States 414.2.3. Canada 435.0. MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ROLE 114 TELECOMMUTING 465.1. Is Telecommuting Worthwhile9 475.2. Municipal Government and Telecommuting 485.2.1. Benefits of Telecommuting to Municipalities 485.2.2. Areas To Be Addressed by Municipalities 505.3. City of Surrey, Case Study 51iv6.0. MUNICIPAL LAND USE REGULATIONS PERTAINING TOTELECOMMUTING 536.1. Official Community Plans 546.2. Zoning By-laws 576.3. Business Licensing 607.0. TELECOMMIJTING AND LAND DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION REVIEWPROCEDURES 627.1. Locational Criteria for Telework Centres 637.2. Development Guidelines for Telework Centres 658.0. TELECOMMUTING AND RECREATION & LIBRARY PROGRAMPLANNING 679.0. TELECOMMIJTING AND MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING... 6810.0. TELECOMMIJTING AND MUNICIPAL MARKETING PLANS 6910.1. Telecommuting Communication Plan 7010.1.1. Concept 7110.1.2. Target Audience 7110.1.3. Message 7110.1.4. Mode 7110.1.5. Follow-Up 7211.0. MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE TELECOMMUTING PROGRAM 7312.0. AREAS FOR FURTHER STUDY 7513.0. CONCLUSION 78BIBLIOGRAPHY 81APPENDIX 1 87VLIST OF TABLESTable Page1. Homeworkers in the United States(1993). 112. Productivity Measurements of Telecommuters:B.C. Systems Corporation 243. Labour Force Participation by Canadian Mothers(1976to 1990) 32viLIST OF FIGURES AND MAPSFigure Page1. Place ofEmployment for Vancouver CMAResidents (1971 and 1991) 162. Canada’s Family Structure (1961 to 1991) 293. Canada’s Husband and Wife Families in theLabour Force (1961 to 1991) 304. Distribution of the Canadian Workforce(1961 to 1991) 31Map1. Lower Mainland ofBritish Columbia 52viiACKNOWLEDGMENTSReturning to school had a significant impact on my family and a lot of adjustments had to bemade. Without my family’s support I would have found the transition back to being a studentvery difficult.A very special thank you must go to my husband Ken. Ken provided me with endlessencouragement, support and guidance. Without Ken’s thorough knowledge of the topic, hisexperience in assisting organizations to implement telecommuting programs and my unrestrictedaccess to his telecommuting library, this thesis would not have been possible.I must also thank my employer, the City of Surrey. Through their willingness in granting me aleave of absence, I was able to fhlfil my long-time educational goal and concentrate wholly on mystudies. As a result of my absence, my peers in the Planning and Development Department had tomake adjustments and for that I am very grateful.vii’1.0. PurposeTraditionally, city planners have recognized the incompatibility of certain land uses and haveencouraged and regulated the separation of these incompatible uses. The downtown has been thefocus of office activity and the suburban communities have received primarily residential andindustrial development. As a result of the increasing distance between work and home, there havebeen increasing demands placed on our roads and on our time due to longer commutes.An extreme example of how dependent North Americans have become on commuting to work isLos Angeles, California -- North America’s most traffic-choked metropolis. In 1990, it waspredicted that “by the turn of the century 96 per cent of the [L.A.] citizenry will travel by car [andthat] the average morning rush-hour speed on the entire freeway system in the year 2000 [would]be roughly 17 miles [27 kilometres] an hour, or roughly half the speed in 1980.” This predictionhas proven to be too optimistic. In March 1993, state transportation officials determined that theaverage speed on L.A. county freeways had already fallen below 20 miles (32 kilometres) perhour. The effects to urban traffic congestion are not limited to personal stress and costs of delays,but “commuting in general, and peak-hour congestion in particular, are major sources of airpollution. “2As a result of the devastating January 17, 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, which measured 6.6 onthe Richter scale, Angelenos were forced to re-examine their commuting patterns. Theearthquake destroyed portions of six key freeways in the Los Angeles area. With this damageestimated at $100 million U.S. to repair, and taking up to a year, thousands of commuters had tofind alternative routes to work.3‘Timothy Appleby, “Driven to distraction in L.A.,” The Globe and Mail, October 26, 1993, A16.2USA, Department of Transportation, “Transportation Implications of Telecommuting,” vii.3”Cost of quake damage may reach $30-billion,” The Globe and Mail, January 20, 1994, A8.1To assist Los Angeles-area residents facing nightmarish traffic because of the earthquake, PacificBell announced a package intended to make it easier to work at home.4 The telephone companywaived installation fees for a month following the quake and donated $1 million to customers inthe earthquake-damaged areas, to fund loans for telecomii!iuting equipment. In addition, at least30 companies which have been displaced by the earthquake or related damage, are seeking the useof telecommuting centres and some of these centres have yet to open.5Being able to work from remote locations is possible for a greater number of the work forcebecause the type ofwork people perform is changing and because of advancements in technology.The most significant occupational shift has been the shift out of basic production industries, intoservices and technology-intensive and value-added manufacturing. The industrialized economyhas been described by economist Nuala Beck as having three economic movements since 1850.The commodity processing economy (1850 - 1918) was driven by an abundant supply of cheapsteel. The mass-manufacturing economy (1918 - 1981) was driven by energy, specifically oil.Today we are in tle technology economy which is driven by microchips.6American futurist Alvin Toffler has predicted that the ‘electronic cottage’ or ‘high-tech’ home, willincreasingly become the place of work. “If this were to happen, every institution we know, fromthe family to the school and the corporation, would be transformed.”7 This prediction isbecoming reality in many regions of the world.The needs of the workers are changing due, in part, to the changing composition of the family.Until the 1 960s, the nuclear family was typical: the father worked outside of the home and themother stayed home to care for the children. In Canada, the percentage of two-adult families has4”Pacific Bell Announces Telecommuting Relief Package,” Los Angeles Times, January 21, 1994, D.2.5T.L. Stanley, “The Northridge Earthquake,” Daily News of Los Angeles, January 28, 1994, SC 1.6Nuala Beck, Shifting Gears: Thriving in the New Economy, 18.7AIvin Toffler, The Third Wave, 194.2decreased from 93% in 1961 to 87% in 1991. For those two-parent families, including common-law couples, the incidence of the husband-only working has noticeably dropped from 68% in 1961to 15.9% in 1991.The needs of the workers are also changing due to changing attitudes. Futurist Faith Popcornsees cocooning -- people insulating themselves in their homes -- as moving into a newer, darkerphase. “The fortress will be the centre of production (we’ll work at home) and the centre ofsecurity (we’ll make the fortress intruder-proof) and the centre of consumption.”8 The degree towhich people are choosing to seclude themselves in their homes is debatable, however, the abilityto do so is increasingly easier, primarily due to technology.The needs and abilities of our future workers must also be recognized. Today’s young studentsare accustomed to high technology in the classroom and increasingly at home. In 1992, it wasestimated that 51.6% of American households owned personal computers9 versus 3 6.3% in1991.10 When these students enter the workforce, antiquated technology will be unacceptable.As a result of these various socio-economic and environmental factors, telecommuting is gainingmomentum. Telecommuting is the concept of employees performing some portion of theirregular work activities from a remote location. This remote work location can be the employee’shome or a telework centre. The implications of telecommuting on how cities are organized andmanaged is only beginning to be recognized.This paper will propose a common definition of telecommuting and describe why it is becoming afactor in the Canadian working environment. Based on literature reviews and analyses of8Faith Popcorn, “What If She is Right?” Report on Business Magazine, October 1991, 66.9LINK Resources Corporation, “News Release,” March 1993, 3.‘°LINK Resources Corporation, “1991 Telecommuting Data,” June 1991, 4.3telecommuting programs, the advantages and disadvantages of this emerging work option aredescribed from the perspective of the employee, employer, and society as a whole.It is the author’s contention that telecommuting deserves serious attention because of thesignificant economic, environmental, and social benefits which can be derived. Municipalgovernment officials should be cognizant of these impacts from the point of view of their ownemployees, and present and future employers within their community and society in general.This paper describes six areas which municipal officials need to analyze and possibly implementchanges to actively support, encourage, and evolve telecommuting within their community. Thesesix areas are described and using the City of Surrey, British Columbia as a case study,recommendations are made in terms of regulations and procedures which assist in implementingtelecommuting.42.0. IntroductionThis section sets the foundation for this paper. The term telecommuting is defined and where itoccurs is described. A distinction is made between telecommuting and home-based businessesand this is explained. Finally, this section describes the emerging work options that are becomingmore prevalent in contemporary society.2.1. Telecommuting DefiüedIn 1973, Jack Nilles from the University of Southern California, coined the synonymous terms‘telecommuting’ and ‘teleworking’, while studying the concept of people working away from theoffice.” In his 1980 book, The Third Wave, Alvin Toffler supported this observation, arguingthat, as the structure of our economy changed from industrial to information-based, the computerwould offer more freedom on the job, including the freedom to take work home to what Tofflerdescribed as the ‘electr6nic cottage’.Telecommuting has been defined in several ways. For the purpose of this paper, telecommuting(also known as teleworking) is defined as the concept of employees performing some portion oftheir regular work activities from a remote location, while receiving their regular salary andbenefits. This remote work location is typically a satellite office, a neighbourhood office, or theemployee’s home. With improved mobile communications and smaller more powerful portablepersonal computers, work locations can also include cars, airplanes, ferries, and hotel rooms.Employees use technology such as personal computers, modems, telephones, and facsimilemachines to connect electronically to the central office. Telecommuting, in essence, moves workto the worker and not the worker to the work.11pfi• Jack Nilles,” TeleTrends, 1.5While being influenced by many factors, telecommuting has risen in prominence primarily due totransformations in the following areas: telecommunications and information technology; thenature ofwork; the workers; the workplace; urban highway congestion; and in some jurisdictions,environmental legislation. Although the land use implications are similar, the definition oftelecommuting chosen for this paper does not include home-based businesses. Telecommutersare, therefore, considered employees of private or public sector organizations.Telecommuting is not for everyone, and merely the desire to work remotely does not qualif,r anemployee for telecommuting, Telecommuters are self-starters who have proven their abilities todo work independently. They know how to organize their work and manage their time. Theyhave learned how their organizations work and have trusting relationships with their managers.Their work requires minimal ad hoc face-to-face communication. Their work tasks can be clearlydefined and easily measured. Their managers trust their employees, manage by outputs, and haveopen, positive attitudes about telecommuting.’22.2. Where Does Telecommuting Occur?Telecommuting can take place from a satellite office, a neighbourhood office, or the employee’shome. Studies suggest that the most successful telecommuters work remotely one to three daysper week rather than on a full-time basis.13The term telework centre is used to describe satellite offices and neighbourhood offices. Thesatellite office is a remote office established in a suburb by the employer. The intent is to haveworkers commute to an office which is closer to their homes on a part-time basis, as opposed to12Lauren Mavis Speeth, “The Attributes of Successful Managers of Telecommuters and SuccessfulTelecommuting Programs,” (Ph.D. diss., Golden Gate University, 1992).13 R. Nancy Greer, “Victoria FORUM,” 7.6all workers having to travel daily to one location.A neighbourhood office houses employees from multiple companies or organizations. Workerscome to the neighbourhood office to work because they all live in the same neighbourhood, notbecause they all work for the same organization. Similar to the neighbourhood office concept is atelecottage. A telecottage “is a room in a [remote] village, which is available to local people forlearning or work, creating revenue and employment...In home-based telecommuting, the employee works from an office established at home. Home-based telecommuting can provide people the opportunity to work, which otherwise may not havebeen possible. For instance, people who are physically challenged or people who live too faraway from employment areas could work from home.Telecommuting can also take place while in transit. Many private vehicles are equipped withcellular phones and some with the capability of fax and data transmission. The British ColumbiaFerry Corporation’s newest ferries are equiped with work stations with 110 volt receptacles, foruse by people working on their portable computers. Some commercial airlines have addedtelephones at the seats of their passengers. The new Boeing 777 commercial two-engine jetscheduled for release in the mid-1990s is being designed with a revolutionary cabin managementsystem which will include a fiber-optic network that extends to every seat. This network willallow passengers “to communicate with colleagues on the ground or in other planes ... [and] it isjust a matter of time before onboard networks [will] also allow fliers to send and receive faxes and15Other businesses seeking to improve service to their customers are hotel operators. Many hotels14Steven Burch, Teleworking: A Strategic Guide for Management, 77.15Paul Saffo, “The Future of Travel,” Fortune Magazine, Autumn 1993, 113.7catering to business travelers now offer two phone lines in their guest rooms -- one for voicecommunication (using the telephone) and one for data transmission (using the portable computer’smodem).Improved telecommunications and information technologies for decreasing cost, is making iteasier to work anytime and anywhere. It is generally agreed that the incidence of telecommutingwill increase. The increase will more likely be “an evolutionary change in working practices as along-term result of the Information Technology Revolution... It will become accepted practice forpeople to spend part of their time working outside the traditional office.”62.3. Home-Based BusinessesFor the purpose of this paper, a distinction has been made between telecommuting and operatinga home-based business and, therefore, the definition chosen for telecommuting in this paperspecifically excludes home-based bUsinesses. Although the land use implications, on the surface,are similar between home-based telecommuting and home-based businesses, there are importantdifferences.Telecommuters are considered employees of an organization (public or private sector) and are notentrepreneurs. Telecommuters are generally not performing their job remotely on a full-timebasis, but rather, are traveling to their central office two to three days a week. There is generallyno indication from the outside of the home that the resident is telecommuting.Home-based business workers, on the other hand, are entrepreneurs. Their homes are their onlyplace of work and because of that business licenses are required. Unlike home-based16Mike Gray, Noel Hodson and Gil Gordon, Teleworking Explained, 22.8telecommuters, home-based business dpérators can deduct the space occupied by their homeoccupation from their taxes. There may be evidence from the outside of the home that a businessactivity is occurring inside the home, such as signage and increased traffic from couriers andcustomers.Home occupations can vary from artist and physician, to cabinet maker and car mechanic.Because of the variety of possible businesses operating from homes, there are legitimate planningconcerns that often require regulations. Concerns which are usually addressed by regulations dealwith the following issues:1. Traffic and parking;2. Privacy, security and noise; and3. Residential character of the neighbourhood.17To address traffic and parking concerns, home occupations are usually limited in scope and scale.In some by-laws, employees must be residents of the dwelling unit. Where home occupations arelocated in multiple residential buildings, privacy of other residents may be affected. Noisegenerated is a consideration for all neighbours. Home occupations should not have a negativeeffect on the residential character of the neighbourhood. To address this, signage may berestricted and rental of the space may be prohibited.’8It is difficult to obtain statistical information related to home-based businesses. Some of thereasons why home-based businesses may operate undetected include the following:17City ofToronto, Planning and Development Department, “Proposed Zoning By-law amendment withrespect to ‘home occupations,” February 9, 1993, 12.18 James E. Randall and Denise Nagel, “Home-Based Business Regulations and Bylaws: CanadianMunicipalities in 1993.”9• home businesses operating without retail sales tax permits or business licenses;• home-based business operators failing to report income to avoid taxes;• no construction necessary and, therefore, no building permits required;• no Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code for home-based businesses; and• home-based business operators’ fear of legal and zoniig consequences.’9To grasp the amount of home-based businesses in the United States, LINK ResourcesCorporation, a New York-based technology research and consulting firm conducts randomtelephone surveying of 2,500 American households. The 1993 annual survey lead LINK toconclude that the number of Americans who work from home increased 15% to 7.6 million in1993.There are an estimated 12.2 million primary self-employed home-based workers and 12.1 millionpart-time self-employed homeworkers in the United States. Approximately 800,00 new primaryhomeworkers began in this work style segment in 1993, but 700,000 discontinued it due toretirement or returning to conventional employment. Approximately 2.3 million new part-timehomeworkers began home-based work in 1993, with 1.9 million migrating into fWl-time jobs orprimary self-employment: this resulted in a net gain of 400,000 in this segment in 1993.20A summary of LINK’s findings for four key homeworker segments is given in Table 1. Self-employed homeworkers receive their primary source of income from their home business. Part-time self-employed homeworkers hold multiple jobs and work from home part of the time.Telecommuters are employees who work from home part- or full-time during normal businesshours. High tech after-hours homeworkers do company work at home after normal businesshours, using personal computers, modems, facsimile machines or extra phone lines.19Jim Bowden, “Municipal Home Occupation Issues,” 10.20LflJK Resources Corporation, “1993 Home Office Trend Fact Sheet.”10Table 1Horneworkers in the United States (1993)Type of American Total Amount Percentage of.Homeworker (1993) Total 1993 HomeworkersPrimary self-employed homeworkers 12,2 million 29.7%Part-time self-employed homeworkers 12.1 million 29.4%Teleconunuters 7.6 million 18.5%High tech corporate after-hours homeworkers 9.2 million 22.4%Source: LINK Resources Corporation, “1993 Home Office Trend Fact Sheet.”Therefore, in the United States it is estimated that 19. 5% of the total work force (24.3 million /124.5 million) are self-employed homeworkers on a part-time or full-time basis. In Canada, a1992 study estimated that “about 23 per cent of working Canadian households are involved inhome-based business activity ... [which] represents over [two] million Canadian households.”2’Although 1992 Canadian estimate can be considered high when compared with the 1993American estimate, the increasing incidence of home-based businesses is generally accepted.In British Columbia, it is estimated that 130,000 of the 220,000 self-employed, work fromhome.22 In addition, “every year 15,000 British Columbians launch a new home-based business,accounting for more than 50 per cent of all new business starts in the province.”232.4. Emerging Work OptionsIn an effort to improve productivity in an increasingly competitive environment, “many companiesare looking internationally to other successful companies and adopting management approachessuch as just-in-time inventories, decentralization, flatter organizations, business process21Barbara Orser and Mary Foster, “Home Enterprise: Canadians and Home-Based Work,” i.22Barbara Mowat, “Home-Based Business Manual: Starting Your Home -Based Business,” 2.23Jbid11streamlining and quality circles.”24 With their goal of doing more with less, many companies (andgovernment agencies are included here) are considering the basic element that accomplishes anywork -- the worker.Changes in family structure and lifestyles have led to new attitudes on the part of employees abouthow work relates to the rest of their lives. To help employees and their organizations moreequitably balance work and family needs, various work options are being introduced. Theseemerging work options include flex time, compressed work week, part-time, job sharing, andtelecommuting.25Flex time allows employees to choose their starting and quitting times within limits set bymanagement. The flexible periods are at either end of a ‘core time,’ during which all employeesmust be present.When a standard work week is compressed into fewer than five days, it is termed a compressedwork week. The most common are four ten-hour days; three twelve-hour days; or a nine-dayfortnight (two-week pay period with five nine-hour days in the first week, and four nine-hour daysplus a free day in the second week).Regular part-time work refers to less than full-time work by employees on an organization’sregular payroll. Ideally, this option offers the same degree ofjob security and a prorated share ofthe rights and benefits available to the full-time workers.Job sharing is the concept of two people voluntarily sharing the responsibilities of one full-time24Kenneth Robertson, “Is Telecommuting for Your Organization?” (MBA Thesis, Simon FraserUniversity, 1992), 9.25NewWays to Work, “Flexibility: Compelling Strategies for a Competitive Workplace,” 6-7.12job, while salary and benefits are prorated. Job sharing creates regular part-time employmentopportunities where there is a need for a fill-time position. Unlike regular part-time work,however, job sharing requires a team approach to job responsibilities and allows for morecontinuity because partners can trade time or fill in for each other.Telecommuting refers to the employee working at home or at a neighbourhood or satellite officeon a regular schedule. Most telecommuting occurs on a part-time basis, one to three days perweek. As indicated in Table 1, approximately 7.6 million Americans were telecommuters in 1993:this figure is equivalent to 6.1% of the total American adult workforce in 1993.133.0. Rationale for TelecommutingThe reasons why telecommuting is a work option that is gaining momentum can be viewed fromthree perspectives: society’s as a whole; the employer’s; and the employee’s.3.1. Society’s PerspectiveThe impact of individuals participating in telecommuting programs, if the aggregated scale is largeenough, can 1e felt by society as a whole.3.1.1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Telecommuting to SocietyTelecommuting from home or from neighbourhood or satellite offices can have positive impactson society as a whole. These advantages from society’s perspective include:• increased energy conservation;• less highway congestion;• control of transportation infrastructure costs;• improved highway safety;• contribution to healthy business climate;• greater sense of community; and• positive impact on local businesses.With telecommuters able to reduce their daily commuting to work either completely or partially totwo to four days per week, society can benefit through increased energy conservation. “In a six-month trial in Phoenix sponsored by AT&T and the State of Arizona, the final report showed[that] ‘during the initial six months, 134 telecommuters drove 97,078 fewer miles, avoidedgenerating 1.9 tons of air pollutants ... and endured 3,705 fewer hours of stressful driving time.”2626Michael J. Dziak, “Why Arent You Telecommuting?” Online Access, 33.14Related to this partial shortening or elimination of daily commuting for telecommuters, is theeffect on the major roads leading to the major employment areas. It is possible to reduce theamount of highway congestion, to control infrastructure costs for construction and maintenanceand to improve highway safety. “The public sector receives the largest share of the benefits in theform of avoided transportation infrastructure expenditures.”27In 1991, there were 800,975 Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) residents employed inthe labour force. Of these workers, 7.2% (57,680) indicated that their homes were their usualplace of work, increasing 3.7 times from 1971. Those who had their place of work outside theCMA increased to 3.6% (29,215) and the remaining 89.2% (714,080) worked somewhere in theCMA outside their home.Figure 1 illustrates the changing work distribution between 1971 and 1991 in the VancouverCensus Metropolitan Area (CMA). For the purpose of analysis, Metropolitan Vancouver hasbeen separated into eight sub-areas: Burnaby/New Westminster; North-East Sector (Coquitlam,Port Coquitlam and Port Moody); South Region (Delta, Surrey and White Rock); the Langley’s(Langley City and Langley District); Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows; North Shore (West Vancouver,North Vancouver City and North Vancouver District); Richmond; and Vancouver.In 1971, there were 402,245 Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) residents who were inthe employed labour force. Of these workers, 3.9% (15,675) indicated that their homes weretheir usual place ofwork, 2.9% (11,625) had a place of work outside the CMA and the remaining93.2% (374,945) worked somewhere in the CMA outside their home. Of the 374,945 CMAresidents who worked in the CMA, outside their homes, 60% (225,000) had a place of workwithin the same sub-area as their residence, The remaining 40% (149,945) lived in one CMA sub27Stephen Finlay, “Benefits, Costs, and Policy Strategies for Telecommuting in Greater Vancouver”(MBA Thesis, Simon Fraser University, 1991), i.15area and worked in another.Figure 1Place of Employment for Vancouver CMA Residents(1971 and 1991)Source: David Baxter, “Changes in Journey to Work Patterns in Metropolitan Vancouver: 1971 to 1991.”In 1971, there were 240,675 people who lived and worked in the same sub-area (including thosewho worked at home): this is 62% of the 390,620 residents who had work places within theVancouver CMA. In 1991, this percentage dropped to 56% (434,440 workers out of a total of771,760 who lived and worked in the CMA). “At the regional level, the single most importantconclusion that can be drawn from comparing the results of the two Census tabulations is thatcommuting between sub-areas in the [Vancouver CMA] has increased significantly over the 1971to 1991 period.”2828David Baxter, “Changes in Journey to Work Patterns in Metropolitan Vancouver 1971 to 1991,” 4.100%90%80%70%60%50%40%30%20%10%0%197119913% 4%WorklUve Same Sub-Area Work at Home WorklLive Different Sub- Work Out Of 8 Live WithinAreas CMA16It can be argued that home-based telecommuters create better benefits for society than teleworkcentre telecommuters, due to the elimination of travel. Telework centre telecommuters, however,do not travel as far as they would to their regular office. They do not necessarily need to use theroutes used by regular commuters. They may be more likely to use alternative forms oftransportation (i.e. public transit, walking, cycling).The global nature of the modern economy has brought with it an intense wave of competition forall businesses, making increased productivity a prime objective. Telecommuting can contribute toa healthy business climate by providing workers the opportunity to maximize their output andtheir creativity.Telecommuting can create a greater sense of community for employees and neighbourhoodresidents. With more time being spent in the community in which they live (either working fromhome or from a nearby telework centre), there is a greater chance of social interaction with theirneighbours, and telecommuters becoming more committed to their neighbourhood. This attitudecould positively influence their neighbours as well, However, “until there [is] a critical mass of[workers in or near their homes], and services supporting them, the [neighbourhood] will holdfew opportunities for social contacts.”29With fewer people leaving the neighbourhood on a daily basis to go to work, local businesses canexpect a positive increase in their revenues. Existing services should benefit and new work-related services may become established.If telecommuting becomes more popular, and there is evidence to suggest it will, there have beenconcerns expressed and they include:29Penelope C. Gurstein, “Working at Home in the Live-In Office: Computers, Space, and The Social Lifeof Households” (Ph.D. diss., University ofCalifornia, 1990), 143.17• increased urban sprawl;• increased office vacancy rates; and• evacuation of the downtown core.Increased urban sprawl can result if a coordinated planning approach dealing with growthmanagement is not applied. With the work place not being in a congested area, for example,employees who telecommute may choose to live further away than if telecommuting was notoffered. In metropolitan areas, farm lands could be threatened and demand for improved ruralroads and public transportation could result if regional lahd use controls are not in place.In many Canadian cities, office vacancy rates are already high due to the prolonged recessionaryperiod. Many people feel that telecommuting will only exacerbate this problem.3° Based on thechanges anticipated in terms of occupations and business operations, perhaps alternative uses forthese office buildings are more realistic. Retrofitting these office buildings into other uses (i.e.residential) may be the only solution to addressing the vacancy issue in the short term. In thelonger term, however, the market should adjust to changing office needs.An example of the short term solution occurred in Vancouver, B.C. in the summer of 1993. Adowntown office building was marketed as the first example in Canada of a residentialcondominium converted from a high-rise office building. All units were sold within a matter ofhours.Related to the issue of office vacancy rates, is the concern that telecommuting will make theCentral Business District (CBD) obsolete. Regardless of telecommuting, the CBD is becomingmore functionally-specialized.3’Areas in the CBD are emerging that are dominated by, forinstance, financial institutions, producer services and tourism and convention facilities. It could be30Allan G. Bortel, “The Un-Real Estating OfCorporate America,” Professional Builder, 22.31Thomas Hutton, “City Profile: Vancouver,” 10.18argued that the trend towards telecommuting is actually a benefit to the CBD in that lesscongestion will allow more efficient utilization of scarce urban land resources.3.2. Employer’s PerspectiveEmployers are focusing on optimizing productivity and reducing costs, some are also trying torespond to the many challenges facing their employees. Telecommuting is one work option thatmay be able to fhlfil these goals.3.2.1. Occupational ChangeCanada and other industrialized countries are experiencing processes of structural change in theeconomy. The most significant change has been the shift out of manufacturing industries, into aninformation society. “While the shift from an agricultural to an industrial society took 100 years,the present restructuring from an industrial to information society took only two decades.”32One of the reasons for restructuring (or shifting away from ‘traditional’ industries) is due toglobalization. Globalization -- a near borderless world where trade and investment flow freely --has resulted in increased competition. The impact of this increased competition is most evident inmanufacturing, where “the biggest change in terms of share of total jobs has hit the unskilled.”33The lower-skill jobs in manufacturing assembly operations are migrating to where labour ischeaper. In Canada, and other advanced countries, the era has ended when many people withmodest education earned handsome wages in factories. The western industrialized countries are32JNaisbitt, Megatrends, 9.33Roslyn Kunin and Joachim Knauf, “Skill-Shifts in Our Economy: A Decade in the Life of BritishColumbia,” 17.19changing to more high-tech and less high-labour. “As a proportion of the working population,blue-collar workers have ... [during the past 15 years] decreased to less than a fifth of theAmerican labor force ... and in 2010 ... they will constitute ... a twentieth of the total.”343.2.2. Business ReengineeringBusinesses are under considerable pressure to increase productivity and lower costs. The 1984Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada concluded“that the key objectives of improving productivity were world-class technology, improved labour-management relations, and entrepreneurship and industrial innovation.”35To generate major improvements in business benefits, reengineering efforts are being conductedaround the world. The goal of business reengineering is to make revolutionary processimprovements. A recent study of reengineering projects in over 100 companies “identified twofactors -- breadth and depth -- that are critical in translating short-term, narrow-focus processimprovements into long-term profits.”36 Breadth refers to the process of improving performanceacross the entire business unit. Depth refers to the redesign penetrating to the company’s core, bymaking profound changes to six critical organizational elements. These elements are:• roles and responsibilities;• measurements and incentives;• organizational structure;• information technology;• shared values; and• skills.3734Peter F. Drucker, Managing for the Future: The 1990s and Beyond, 132.35Kenneth Robertson, “Is Telecommuting for Your Organization?” (MBA Thesis, Simon FraserUniversity, 1992), 9.36Gene Hall, Jim Rosenthal and Judy Wade, “How to Make Reengineering Really Work,” HarvardBusiness Review, November-December 1993, 119.37Ibid.20There are some recurring themes that are frequently eñcciuntered in reengineered businessprocesses. “The most basic and common feature ... is the absence of an assembly line; that is,many formerly distinct jobs or tasks are integrated and compressed into one.”38 Another featureis that decisions which may have formerly been made by the managers are now being made by theworkers. A third characteristic is that “work is performed where it makes the most sense.”39Business reengineering, therefore, results in dramatic changes. Telecommuting is one example ofsuch change.3.2.3. Advantages and Disadvantages of Telecommuting to the Employer“The global nature of the modern economy has brought with it an intense wave of competition forall businesses, making increased productivity a prime objective. The business world has come torealize the importance of maximizing not just the output of workers, but also their creativity andthe level of quality and customer service in their work.”4° For the companies and governmentagencies that implement a teleconimuting program, the advantages accrued to the employer caninclude:• reduced staff turn-over and absenteeism;• improved recruiting;• higher employee morale;• reduced overhead;• good public relations value; and• improved quality and quantity ofwork output.Employers are highly motivated to retain their better employees because of the significant costs ofrecruiting and training. Providing greater flexibility in terms of where and when people work, byimplementing programs such as telecommuting, can be an effective tool for retaining valued38Michael Hammer and James Champy, Reengineerrng the Corporation, 51.39Ibid., 56.40USA, Department of Transportation, “Transportation Implications of Telecommuting,” 10.21employees. Telecommuting can be a selling point for workers whose lifestyle or family needs areincompatible with daily commuting, particulaEly tong distance.In addition to reduced staff turn-over, studies indicate that telecominuting has also reducedabsenteeism. One American study (Pacific Bell) retorts “that telecommuters exhibit 25 per centless absenteeism than do employees who work in their Central Business District offices.”41Telecommuting programs have demonstrated that telecommuting increases employee morale.This improved morale has a positive affect on productivity improvements and absenteeismreductions.Telecommuting provides the employer an opportunity to save on office space costs, if the centraloffice space is reduced in size. This is possible because an organization with telecommuters willrarely have all staff in the same office facility at the same time. Thus, if the organization created astaggered schedule for telecommuters, space could be saved through non-territorial officestrategies.With telecommuting being one reason employees stay with the organization, it can also be areason to want to join. The ojtion to divide time between working remotely and working in thecentral office can be important where lifestyle, family or other similar issues are vital to a valuableprospective employee. In addition, telecommutirg provides access to a larger labour pooi,including handicapped, elderly, and geographically remote persons.Hiring the otherwise unemployed or under-employed worker with limited mobility or access toreliable transportation, has positive value in terms of public relations for the employer. In41USA, Department of Transportation, “Transportation linp1icatións of Telecommuting,” 35.22addition, reducing the amount of commuting required of the employees is positive in that thiscontributes to the general societal goals of reductions in pollution, road congestion and gasolineconsumption.Performance of creative work can benefit from the employee having greater flexibility in the worksituation and scheduling. Most studies have shown that the most important characteristic oftelecommuting for an employer is the increase in productivity from the telecommuter -- anincrease in the range of 1 53O%.42 This productivity increase is attributable to several factors:1. Teleconimuters tend to work more within the same number of hours per day than doworkers in the central office;2. Telecominuters work at a pace that is best for them, without having to deal with peerpressure for being too dedicated;3. Telecommuters take less sick leave; and4. Telecommuting is increasingly built around using technology -- that in itself adds tothe productivity of the telecommuter.The productivity of telecommuters was examined in the 1993 final evaluation of the BC SystemsCorporation telecommuting pilot in Victoria, British Columbia. The BC Systems Corporation isthe province’s technology provider and the pilot involved twenty home-based telecommuters andfourteen satellite office telecommuters.The BC Systems Corporation telecommuters estimated that their productivity increased on theirtelecommuting days and also on their regular office days, resulting in an overall productivityimprovement. These improvements were also recognized by the supervisors, however, notsurprisingly, the latter estimates were somewhat lower. Table 2 illustrates the productivity42Lis Fleming, The One-Minute Commuter: How to Keep Your Job and Stay at Home Telecommuting,46.23improvements estimated by the telecommuters themselves (satellite and home-based) and theirsupervisors. When the estimates of the telecommuters and their supervisors are aggregated andaveraged, the weighted grand mean improvement in productivity was 20% on telecommuting daysand 13% overall.43Table 2Productivity Measurements of Telecommuters: B.C.Questionnaire Respondeuts Productivity Improvements Overall Productivityon Telecommuting Days ImprovementHome Telecommuters:Interim 27% 18%Final 28% 19%Satellite Office Telecommuters:Interim 27% 12%Final 15%a 12%Supervisors:Interim 17% 10%Final 18% 11%Weighted Grand Mean:Interim 22% 13%Final 20%b 13%Notes:a: The drop in productivity for satellite office telecommuters is attributable to the technology problemsexperienced at the satellite office,b: The weighted grand mean on telecommuting days was calculated as follows:[(20 home telecommuters ÷ 68 total telecommuters and supervisors) x 28%] + [(14 satellitetelecommuters ÷ 68) x 15%] + [(34 supervisors ÷ 68) x 18%] = 20%Source: Ken Robertson and Walter Muir, “BC Systems Telecommuting Pilot Final Evaluation.”However, disadvantages of telecommuting from the perspective of the employer can include:• start-up and operating costs;• change in basic organizational practices;• possible increased need for computer resources;• difficulties in communicating with workers;• lack of organizational experience in remote supervision and management byobjectives;43Ken Robertson and Walter Muir, “BC Systems Telecommuting Pilot Final Evaluation,” 17.Systems Corporation24• meeting urgent assignment deadlines;• union opposition;• security concerns; and• setting of a precedent.The cost of implementing telecommuting can include the following:1. equipment purchasing or leasing, particularly telephone lines, personal computers andoffice furniture;2. additional offlôe facilities in neighbourhood or satellite offices; and3. training programs for the telecommuters and their supervisors.In the BC Systems Corporation’s recent pilot telecommuting program, the operating cost perhome telecommuter was estimated at approximately $5,300 per year and the cost per satellitetelecommuter was estimated at approximately $8,900 per year.44With workers performing some or all of their tasks from a remote location, it may be necessary tochange the basic practices of the organiation. For instance, regularly scheduled meetings may benecessary rather than chance get-togethers.While not all tasks done remotely require computer equipment, the majority of telecommuters willincreasingly rely on technology. Assuming this trend to be the norm, it is likely that there will bean increased need for additional computer resources. While mâFe people will rely on technology,they will not necessarily be capable of resolving technology difficulties. Additional informationtechnology personnel to be available on an on-call basis may, therefore, be necessary.Telecommuters may choose to work non-traditional hours in order to better accommodate otherobligations such as family. If the working hours of the telecommuter do not correspond with the44Ken Robertson and Walter Muir, “BC Systems Telecommuting Pilot Final Evaluation,” 15.25hours of his/her supervisor, difficulties may be experienced in communicating with the worker.This problem can be alleviated, however, if there is an agreement between the two parties toprovide some overlap in working hours (i.e. core hours) between the telecommuter and thesupervisor.While some supervisors may feel that managing telecommuters is no different from managing in-office employees, other supervisors may experience difficulties. Management of remote workersmay be beyond the capabilities of managers who rely on frequent visual contact to reassurethemselves their staff are really working. The successful management of telecommuters requirestrust and the development of new supervisory methods. For example “management byobjectives,” which focuses on the product rather than the process, must replace the practice ofdirect visual observation for telecommuting to be successful. It should be noted that managementskill is not enough to ensure successful telecommuting programs. “Many other attributes,including trust, voluntary participation, upper management support, and employee enthusiasm arereported as important to success.”45Employers often are concerned about the effectiveness of telecommuters in handling urgentassignment deadlines. In every office, situations arise which need to be addressed immediatelyand the concern is that workers in remote locations will be unable to assist. Through the use ofthe telephone, facsimile machine, personal computer and modem, it is possible to meet thesedeadlines without face-to-face contact. The ability to deal with tight deadlines may, in fact, beeasier for telecommuters, due to fewer interruptions.Telecommuting, when implemented, can substantially affect how unions go about representingtheir members. When telecommuting started to become more popular in the early 198Os, trade45Lauren Mavis Speeth, “The Attributes of Successful Managers of Telecommuters and SuccessfulTelecommuting Programs” (Ph.D. diss., Golden Gate University, 1992), 110-111.26unions expressed concern. The main areas of concern expressed by the trade unions are asfollows:1. fragmentation of the workforce;2. exploitation of the telecommuter;3. social isolation of telecommuters;4. ability to stop telecommuting;5. employee’s expenses associated with telecommuting; and6. potential lack of promotional opportunities for telecommuters.’The British Columbia Government Employees’ Union (BCGEU) recently cooperated with BCSystems Corporation in Victoria in establishing a telecommuting pilot. Prior to signing thememorandum of agreement for the project, the BCGEU required that several concerns beaddressed. One was the status of telecommuters: they had to remain employees and receive thesame pay and benefits regardless of their work location. Other areas of concern were insurance,liability and ownership of equipment.47A major concern from the perspectiv of the employer about telecommuting is security. Securityand confidentiality issues present many challenges: lack of institutional control over theworkplace; and the greater use of technology will increase the risks of theft, forgery, and untimelydisclosures. One security concern is the malicious or unintentional tampering of information onthe organization’s computers. Many safeguards can be instituted to reduce security violations,however, there are no guarantees security will not be threatened. A second security concern isaccess to customer information. Strict policies can be put in place to reduce the likelihood ofunauthorized people gaining access to confidential information but, again, there are no guarantees46Vittorio Di Martino and Linda Wirth, Conditions ofWork Digest.7”Telecom.muting: A Union Perspective,” Telework Canada, Spring 1993, 8.27when the employee is working from a remote location.Employers are often concerned about setting a precedent. If some employees are allowed totelecommute and there is great enthusiasm about this work option, other employees will likelypressure management to expand the program. The disadvantage is that telecommuting will notwork for all jobs. In addition, although a job may be conducive to telecommuting, not allemployees are similarly suitable.3.3. Employee’s PerspectiveDue to the many challenges facing the modern employee, such as work and family obligations,career development and stressftul lifestyles, flexible work options like telecommuting are becomingmore and more desirable.3.3.1. Changing Family StructureCanada’s typical family structure is changing. Changes in the structure of families have had amajor effect in determining what an employee wants from a job. In the 1960s, the nuclear familywas typical: the father worked usually outside the home and the mother stayed home to care forthe children. The percentage of two-adult families has decreased to 87% from 93% in 1961.Figure 2 illustrates the steady trend in Canada toward fewer two-parent families. This increasingnumber of single-parent families (13% in 1991) has implications on employee needs, and flexiblework options can provide some assistance.28Source: Statistics CanadaFigure 2Canada’s Family Structure (1961 to 1991)For today’s two-adult families, the incidence of the husband only working has noticeably droppedfrom more than three-quarters (77%) in 1961 to less than one-quarter (23%) in 1991: thesenumbers include common-law relationships and only reflect families where at least one member isin the employed labour force. The likelihood of both adults working, in a two-adult family, hasincreased from 20% in 1961 to 51% in 1991.Figure 3 illustrates the increasing proportion of double income-generating families between 1961and 1991. In 1961, 20% of all two-adult families in the labour force were both working, whereasin 1991, this proportion increased to 73%. Again, the decline in the numbers of one adult in thefamily not working has implications on the family, particularly families with children.100%90%80%70%60%50%40%30%20%10%0%93% 91% ri1 13%7% L......1961 1971Two-Parent Families El Single-Parent Families1981 199129Figuie 3Canada’s Husband and Wife Families in the Labour Force(1961 to 1991)Source: Statistics Canada.The result of more couples working has contributed to the changing composition of Canada’sworkforce. Figure 4 illustrates the changing distribution of the total Canadian workforce, by sex,between 1961 and 1991. In 1961, almost three-quarters (72%) of the Canadian workforce weremales, whereas in 1991 this proportion dropped to just over one-half (55%).37%100%90%80% 77% 73%70%60%50%40%30% ------23%20%10%0% —1961 1971 1981Husband & Wfe Both Abrking Ei Husband Only Vbrking41%I 125%199130Figure 4Distribution of the Canadian Workforce(1961 to 1991)“Work schedules are a critical factor that structures the time available for parent-child, couple,and ‘whole family’ interactions, potentially affecting the quality of life and children’ssocialization.”48 Table 3 illustrates how the flexibility of work schedules is increasingly importantdue to the rising participation rate of mothers in Canada’s labour force between 1976 and 1990.In 1976, 1,338,000 mothers of children under the age of 16 were in the labour force; in 1990, thisfigure increased almost 61% to 2,153,000.needs, 101.48Donna S. Lero and others, Canadian National Child Care Study: parental work patterns and child care100%90%80%70%60%50%40%30%20%10%0%MaleFemale1961 1971 1981 1991Source: Statistics Canada.31Table 3Labour Force Participation of Canadian Mothers(1976 to 1990)Age of Youngest Child 1976 1981 1986 [ io< 3 years 282,000 419,000 511,000 560,0003-5 years 256,000 306,000 369,000 393,0006-12 years 583 000 696,000 751 0006-15 years ... ioo,ooo 980,000 1,083,000 1,200,000Total with Children < 16 Years 1,338,000 1,705,000 1,963,000 [ 2,153,000Source: Donna S. Lero and others., Canadian National Child Care Study: parental work patterns andchild care needs, Advantages and Disadvantages of Telecommutiiig to the EmployeeFrom the telecommuter’s perspective, telecommuting from a neighbourhood office, satellite office,or from home has the following advantages:• flexibility and empowerment in the workplace;• reduction of commuting time and travel stress;• cost savings on wardrobe and vehicle-related;• proximity to family and community;• autonomy and control over work conditions and schedules;• ability to better balance work and home lifestyles;• improved work environment; and• improved quality of life.Probably the most significant advantage for employees who telecommute is personal freedom interms of flexibility and empowerment in the workplace. Most telecommuters can set their ownhours and adjust their work days to best fit their peak hours of mental alertness. In addition,when telecommuting, there are no expectations as to what is appropriate work attire.32“Long distance commuting on congested roads has adverse effects on blood pressure, frustrationtolerance, short term, memory, mood and job satisfaction.”49 By limiting the days required tocommute to the central location, telecommuters who work from home or from telework centresenjoy the reduction in commuting time. By eliminating or reducing the amount of rush hourcommuting, an individual’s travel stress is reduced.“There are some tangible, cost saving advantages to telecommuting. The primary cost saving isthe money that the employee currently spends on commuting to the central office.”5° For thosewho drive to work, savings will be on vehicle costs (parking, fuel and maintenance) and for thosewho take public transit, savings will be on transit fares. Another area of cost savings enjoyed bytelecommuters is related to food and clothing. Regular lunches at the company cafeteria or localrestaurants are reduced when working from home. The need for expensive office attire can also bereduced along with associated dry cleaning costs, when working from home or from teleworkcentres where attire is more casual.The costs and benefits for individual telecommuters were examined in the 1993 final evaluation ofthe BC Systems Corporation telecommuting pilot in Victoria, British Columbia.5’ There were nocosts incurred by the fourteen satellite telecommuters. There were costs for the twenty home-based telecommuters in terms of set-up costs and home energy costs (i.e. heating and powerusage). The total yearly benefit accrued to the average satellite telecommuter was estimated at$1,466. This figure was based on the average satellite telecommuter’s estimated vehicle-relatedsavings (fuel, maintenance and parking) and value of personal time saved. The average satellitetelecommuter had been traveling to and from work in a single-occupancy vehicle (67% of the49Stephen Finlay, “Benefits, Costs, and Policy Strategies for Telecommuting in Greater Vancouver,”(MBA Thesis, Simon Fraser University, 1991), 48.50Kenneth Robertson, “Is Telecommuting for Your Organization?” (MBA Thesis, Simon FraserUniversity, 1992), 25.Robertson and Walter Muir, “BC Systems Telecommuting Pilot Final Evaluation,” 19.33pilot group). The net yearly benefit accrued to the home telecommuter was estimated at $1,821.Many telecommuters appreciate the proximity to family and community when working from homeor from a nearby telework centre. Telecommuters can spend more time with their families and,therefore, have a greater sense of satisfaction with their overall lives. 52It must be stressed that, while working from home cannot be a substitute for child care, avoidingor reducing the regular commute will also reduce the amount of time the child spends in childcare: this is true for all types of dependent care.Related to proximity to work, telecommuters can better balance work and home lifestyles. Arecent study concluded that because “the labour force of the 1 990s and beyond will be dominatedby employees who share at least some responsibility for the care of family dependants”53organizations cannot afford to ignore the issue of balancing work and family demands. This studywas conducted by a team from Carleton University, University of Ottawa and the University ofWestern Ontario and consisted of a survey distributed to over thirty Canadian private sectorcompanies. To help employees better balance the work/family interface, six recommendations aremade in the report and the first two include telecommuting:1. provide greater work-time flexibility;2. provide greater work/location flexibility;3. educate employees on issues ofwork-family conflict;4. make a commitment to promote women;5. provide flexible and complete benefit packages; and52Brad Schepp, The Telecommuter’s Handbook: How to Work for a Salary Without Ever Leaving theHouse, 12-13.53Christopher Higgins and others, “Balancing Work and Family: A Study ofCanadian Private SectorEmployees,” 1.346. educate managers.54Telecommuters enjoy the autonomy and control over work conditions and schedules. Choosinghow one’s workspace is organized and one’s work schedule, gives a worker satisfaction and thefeeling of being his or her own boss.Telecommuters often cite the advantage of telecommuting being an improved work environment.Telecommuters experience fewer distractions, less environmental noise, and less job-relatedstress. They are also able to avoid office politics and when working from home, can exert controlover their physical environment, i.e. by adjusting the temperature to their liking, openingwindows, etc.Overall, telecommuters experience an improved quality of life. By enjoying the flexibility ofworking when and where it is most convenient, other factors of their lives can be improved.However, some employee concerns about telecommuting include:• tendency to overwork;• concern regarding electronic monitoring;• lack of adequate home space;• lack of promotions;• isolation from colleagues; and• conflicts between family and work roles.There is a tendency for telecommuters to overwOrk. This may be because telecommuters areattempting to prove that this work option was a good management decision and are workingharder to justify telecommuting or because there is no one to invite them to take a break. In thecase of the home-based telecommuters, overworking may be a result of not being able to get away54Ibid., 75-79.35from the office.Although the supervisors are not visible, there is a concern held by some telecommuters aboutbeing electronically monitored. It is a simple procedure to determine how long an employee wassigned on to the computer netwOrk and how many transactions were undertaken. This fear canbring about distrust and could threaten the success of the program.Adequate home space is necessary for successftil home-based telecommuters. The workspaceshould be comfortable and there hould be sufficient storage space. Ideally, the workspace shouldbe separate from the living space: this separation should be physical to provide the workerpsychological separation from the home. However, if a separate room is not available, theworkspace should have boundaries and “should be located to minimize visual, auditory andphysical access from the private areas of the home.”55Working remotely could result in a reduced opportunity for promotion. Telecommuters are notalways visible to management and, therefore, can be easily overlooked for promotion. In thissituation, the telecommuter is perhaps an example of out ofsight, out ofmind.“Social isolation is considered to be the greatest disadvantage of telecommuting and this is themain reason many people give for opposing telecommuting.”56 The home telecommuter is theone who is most isolated. For this reason, many telecommuters prefer to work from teleworkcentres or telecoñiniute only one to three days per week.For home-based telecommuters, conflicts between work and family roles are a concern. “When55Penelope C. Gurstein, “Working at Home in the Live-In Office: Computers, Space and The Social LifeofHouseholds,” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, 1990), 176.56Kenneth Robertson, “Is Telecommuting for Your Organization?” (MBA Thesis, Simon FraserUniversity, 1992), 29.36these conflicts cannot be resolved, the merging of roles and the merging of spaces causedisruptions in other home activities.”5757Penelope C. Gurstein, “Working at Home in The Live-In Office: Computers, Space, and The Social Lifeof Households,” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, 1990), 40.374.0. Implementation of TeleéommutingBased on LINK Resource’s annual national Work-at-Home Survey, “company employees workingat home at least part of the time during normal business hours now total 7.6 million.”58 Sincetelework centre telecommuters are not included in this survey, the total number of telecommuters(as defined in this paper) will be greater than 7.6 million. Similar annual surveys are not conductedin Canada, however, if even a slightly smaller proportion of Canadian workers were home-basedtelecommuters (i.e. 5.75% rather than 6.1% in the U.S.), there could be an estimated 738,150Canadian telecommuters.59LINK Resources found that three-fourth’s of all telecommuters are information workers.“Managers, salesworkers and professional specialty occupations ... account for 3.8 million of thetotal 7.6 million telecommuters.”6°4.1. Suitable Jobs or TasksIt is commonly assumed that only people who spend most of their working day using a personalcomputer are suited to telecommuting. Although this assumption may be the case for the majorityof telecommuters, telecommuting can apply to many jobs. The key to determining jobs withtelecommuting potential is to dissect the jobs into individual tasks. Once the tasks have beenidentified which could be performed from a remote location, the ability of the specific employee tobe effective remotely must be reviewed.There are at least four important characteristics of tasks that make the task suitable for58LINK Resources Inc., “Press Release -- U.S. Telecommuting Population Total Hits 7.6 Million.”59Based on the 1991 Census, there were 12,837,675 people employed in Canada.38telecommuting and these tasks are as follows:1. Task has minimal physical requirements of other labour and capital inputs;2. Task outputs can be defined and measured unambiguously without on-site supervision;3. Task requires concentration; and4. Task requires little unscheduled face-to-face contact.6’Tasks which rely on the physical output from other employees that are not easily transported to aremote location do not lend themselves easily to telecommuting. In addition, tasks which requireaccess to specialized capital equipment are also difficult to perform remotely. With advancementsin technology, however, what could not be done remotely ten years ago, can be performedremotely today. For instance, computer aided drafting was only available on large centralcomputers ten years ago. Today, it is available on personal computers at a reasonable cost.In order for managers to evaluate the progress of tasks being performed remotely, telecommutingtasks must result in outputs that can be clearly defined and measured. These telecommuting taskmeasurements should be agreeable to both the manager and the telecommuter prior to thecommencement of the assignment. The review process should be carried out throughout theactivity.Tasks that are ideal for telecommuting are those that require concentration, such as reportwriting, calculations, and drawing. In the central office, concentrating for extended periods oftime is often difficult due to frequent interruptions. A commonly-cited problem with the centraloffice “is the open office plan with partitions, rather than walls, to separate workspaces.”62 At a61Kenneth Robertson, “Is Telecommuting for Your Organization?” (MBA Thesis, Simon FraserUniversity, 1992), 15.62Penelope C. Gurstein, “Working at Home in the Live-In Office: Computers, Space, and The Social LifeofHouseholds,” (Ph.D. diss., University ofCalifornia, 1990), 106.39remote location, even with only partitions, interruptions decrease considerably and productivityand creativity can increase.A very important characteristic of a good telecommuting task is that required face-to-facemeetings can be scheduled. Communication is not cut off when working remotely but only theface-to-face contact. In the near future, video phones will be more readily available for personson the phone to see each other. Presently, communication with the telecommuter workingremotely can be achieved via electronic mail, telephone, and facsimile.4.2. Government Involvement in Telecommuting ProgramsGovernments have played a significant role in the encouragement of telecommuting as a workoption. The forms of encouragement have varied. In Great Britain, the government has assistedprivate businesses in the recruitment of home-based employees. In the United States, the CleanAir Act has legislated large cities to address the degradation of the environment. Telecommutingis one recommended response. In Canada, governments are developing telecommuting programsfor their own employees, which in turn may set an example for the private sector to follow.4.2.1. Great BritainIn 1982, Britain’s Department of Trade and Industry initiated a pilot home-based telecommutingprogram, called the Remote Work Units Project, which transformed the disabled into enabled.63The project involved assisting a wide range of employers in recruiting employees who, because ofmobility restrictions, could work only from home. Phase One of the project started with sixpeople employed from home and during the following two years, fifty-eight more home-based63Francis Kinsman, The Telecommuters, 26.40workers were added.Between 1984 and 1986 a second phase of the project ran and was comprised of another fortyworkers. “The aim of this second phase was to develop guidelines for a permanent schemewhereby hundreds, and even thousands, of disabled people could eventually be helped to findfulfilling employment from home.”64 Since 1987, the Manpower Services Commission has beenresponsible for implementing this service on a nation-wide basis.4.2.2. United StatesThe United States federal government has recognized that telecommuting should be encouragedas it may assist in satisfying the legislative mandate to improve air quality. The Clean AirAmendment Act (CA.AA) is focused on achieving higher levels of air quality, particularly in themore heavily polluted urban regions, and is a major motivation for public sector interest intelecommuting in many areas. Deadlines are set for reduction of pollution in over 100 majorcities, which in some cases may require actually reducing auto travel.65 In response to the CAAA,the states of Arizona, California, Colorado and Washington (among others) have implementedtelecommuting.On February 1 1, 1994, Arizona’s House Bill 2001 came into effect. This state bill calls for a fiveper cent reduction in employee single-occupancy vehicle trips in the first year and a ten per centreduction in Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix). In the second to fifth years, anadditional five per cent reduction (and ten per cent for Maricopa County) is required. The lawcovers employers with one hundred or more employees, however, in Maricopa County thethreshold is fifty employees. One requirement of the employer trip-reduction plan involves a64Ibid., 27.65USA, Department of Transportation, “Transportation Implications of Telecommuting,” 10-11.41telecommuting program that includes at least five per cent of the employees at least one day aweek. With an estimated 500,000 employees in Maricopa County firms with fifty or moreemployees, this five per cent telecommute requirement translates to 25,000 telecommuters everyday.66The State Assembly Bill 374 in California proposes “a tax credit to employers implementingtelecommuting programs, provided participants telecommute three or more days per week.”67 InSouthern California, the Air Quality Management Plan for the South Coast Air Basin includes ameasure designed to eliminate twenty per cent of rgional work trips through telecommuting.The City of Los Angeles has established “at least 3 satellite offices as one of the goals of itstelecommuting pilot project.”68In response to the State of Colorado’s Bill 1178 (which outlines an eighteen-month travelreduction program) and to fulfil a leadership role, the City and County of Denver began itstelecommuting pilot program in June 1992. Other incentives Denver offered to employees toreduce work travel included: alternate modes of travel (bus, carpool, vanpool, bicycle), adjustablework schedules and a guaranteed ride home through their Guaranteed Ride Home Program.To encourage other organizations to consider telecommuting, on August 19, 1992, the City andCounty of Denver sponsored the 1992 Colorado Telecommuting Conference. The conferencewas the innovation of the City and County of Denver’s Travel Reduction Program Office and theColorado Advanced Technology Institute. The purpose of the conference was to challengeparticipants to “think through the strengths and drawbacks of telecommuting” and the conference66”Arizona Passes New Pollution Control Measure, Including Provision for Mandated Telecommuting,”Telecommuting Review: The Gordon Report: The Gordon Report, December 1993, 1.67USA, Department of Transportation, “Transportation Implications of Telecommuting,” 7.68JALA Associates, Inc., “The State ofCalifornia Telecommuting Pilot Project, Final Report,” 7.42was open to anyone interested.69In response to the state of Washington’s trip reduction statute, in October 1990, the WashingtonState Energy Office (WSEO) began a Seattle-area telecommuting pilot with 283 telecommutersfrom thirteen public and private sector organizations. This pilot had a strong research focus andamong the areas studied were:1. effects on travel patterns and energy usage;2. changes in job performance and job satisfaction;3. suitability of the technological infrastructure; and4. cost savings generated by telecommuting and telework centres.70The final evaluation report found that there was increased productivity and increased skillsobserved by both the telecommuters and their supervisors. It was also reported that each of “thetelecommuters reduced their total number of commute trips by about 26 trips per year; the home-based telecommuters reduced their vehicle miles traveled by 1,386 [miles or 2,230 kilometres] onaverage, and saved 46 gallons [174 litres] ofgasoline.”7’4.2.3. CanadaCanada’s Treasury Board Secretariat Personnel Policy Branch has initiated a telework policy for200,000 federal government employees. The policy came about as a result of addressing ways tomake life better for employees who are faced with “minimum salary increase, [having to do] more69City and County ofDenver, “Telecommuting Meeting the Management, Environmental, and FamilyNeeds for a Changing Business Environment,” 1.70”State ofWashington Issues Interim Report on Pilot,” Telecommuting Review: The Gordon Report,July 1992, 1.71”State ofWashington Issues Final Report, Program Guides,” Telecommuting Review: The GordonReport, February 1993, 11.43with less and constant downsizing.”72 The Treasury Board approved the telework pilot project onAugust 24, 1992, for a periçd of three years. With the aim of allowing employees to work atalternative locations and thereby achieving a better balance between their work and personal lives,all departments are encouraged to consider applying the telecommuting concept where it iseconomically and operationally feasible to do so.Another Canadian federal government example is the Ontario Region of the Canadian Departmentof Communications’ telework centre in Burlington, Ontario.73 Burlington is located fiftykilometres (thirty-one miles) from downtown Toronto. The average one-way public transit tripfrom Burlington to the downtown Toronto office is one and one-half hours and it is longer forprivate vehicles during peak periods. In an effort to address the high staff turnover and resultinghigh staffing and training costs, the Burlington Telework Centre was opened in November 1992.The telework centre consists of twenty telecommuters and indications are that this work option isassisting in retaining staffIn the summer of 1991, the BC Systems Corporation’s Environmental Awareness Teamrecommended several activities to support the Corporation’s principle of environmentalresponsibility. Included in this plan was a recommendation to offer telecommuting to workers ona part-time basis. On December 1, 1992, BC Systems Corporation began its first telecommutingpilot. The pilot consisted of twenty employees for home-based telecommuting and fourteen forsatellite office telecommuting. Participation in the pilot was open to most of the 1,100 employeesofBC Systems Corporation: the information technology provider for the B.C. government. Themajority of the telecommuters (79%) are unionized employees and come from a variety ofDivisions within BC Systems Corporation and from a wide range ofjobs.72”Telework in the Federal Public Service,” Telework Canada, Spring 1993, 3.73”Department ofCommunications -- Burlington Telework Centre,” Telework Canada, Summer 1993, 1.44The telecommuting pilot plan included approximately five months of preparation activities(development of policies, technology strategy, training, etc.) followed by a ten month pilot. Thesatellite office was established within a strip mall in the Victoria suburb of Langford,approximately thirteen kilometres (eight miles) from the BC Systems Corporation headquarters.The home-based and satellite office telecommuters were equipped with all necessary technologyand equipment.74 Each of the seventeen office stations was designed to be shared by two or moretelecommuters.The pilot demonstrated that telecommuting is a viable work option for BC Systems Corporation,with financial and environmental benefits and improved job performance. Based on these results,BC Systems has formalized telecommuting as an approved part-time, voluntary work optionavailable to qualified employees.74Ken Robertson and Walter Muir, “BC Systems Telecommuting Pilot Final Evaluation,” 7.455.0. Municipal Government Role in TelecommutingTelecommuting is a work option that is increasingly being implemented. Although exact figuresare unknown, evidence of this work option is more prevalent in the United States for a number ofreasons including legislation to address pollution. In Canada, the incidence of telecommuting isincreasing, with both organizations and employees seeing the benefits of working remotely.These benefits and concerns of telecommuting have been reviewed from the perspective of theemployer, the employee and society.From the employees’ perspective, a better balance between their work and personal lives issought. The number of one-parent families is increasing and where there are two-parent families,it is more common for both parents to be working. With the desire to improve one’s quality oflife, the daily long-distance commute is no longer acceptable. Telecommuting, even on a part-timebasis, is one work option that is desirable for many.The advantages that an employee can enjoy if given the opportunity to telecommute can include:• flexibility and empowerment in the workplace;• reduction of commuting time and travel stress;• cost savings on wardrobe and vehicle-related;• proximity to family and community;• autonomy and control over work conditions and schedules;• ability to better balance work and home lifestyles;• improved work environment; and• improved quality of life.To maintain a competitive advantage, employers are seeking more productive ways of performingtasks. Jobs are changing. The most significant occupational shift has been out of the basicproduction industries, into services and technology-intensive and value-added manufacturing.With the assistance of technology, an increasing number of jobs can be performed anywhere,46anytime.For organizations that permit their employees to telecommute, the advantages accrued to theemployer can include:• improved quality and quantity ofwork output;• reduced staff turn-over and absenteeism;• improved recruiting;• higher employee morale;• reduced overhead; and• good publiô relations value.From a societal perspective, some positive effects of telecommuting include:• increased energy conservation;• less highway congestion;• control of infrastructure costs for construction and maintenance;• improved highway safety;• contribution to healthy business climate;• greater sense of community for employees and neighbourhood residents; and• positive impact on local businesses.5.1. Is Telecommuting Worthwhile?In a general sense, it has been demonstrated that telecommuting is worthwhile. There are netbenefits to employees, employers and society. Municipal governments must, therefore, becomeaware of the increasing incidence of telecommuting, its possible advantages to the municipality,and the resulting impacts on the operation of the municipality.475.2. Municipal Government and TelecommutingTelecommuting can assist municipalities in meeting certain objectives, such as increasingemployment areas and decreasing transportation infrastructure costs. To reach these objectives,however, municipalities must take a ‘pro-active’ role in the evolution of telecommuting in theircommunity.5.2.1. Benefits of Telecommuting to MunicipalitiesMunicipalities can benefit from not only their own employees telecommuting, but also from theirresidents’ telecommuting. The benefits municipalities can expect from a greater incidence oftelecommuting within their boundaries, include the following:• cost savings on transportation infrastructure;• community development;• decreased breaking and entering crimes;• consideration in emergency preparedness planning;• tax base improvements; and• information highway leadership role.When telecommuting is implemented, “the public sector [i.e. the taxpayer] receives the largestshare of the benefits in the form of avoided transportation infrastructure expenditures.”75 A 1991study of the benefits and costs of telecommuting in Greater Vancouver estimated that through theimplementation of telecommuting, up to $2.38 billion in transportation infrastructure costs couldbe avoided over a ten year period.76Telecommuting can assist in creating friendly communities. With fewer residents leaving their75Stephen Finlay, “Benefits, Costs, and Policy Strategies for Telecommuting in Greater Vancouver”(MBA Thesis, Simon Fraser University, 1991), ii.76Jbid., 59.48community on a daily basis to go io work, the neighbourhood can become more of a focus. Morecommunity awareness coupled with greater participation in community events may result inbringing the community closer together.It has been demonstrated in Japan, that “middle-aged businessmen [who have traditionally moved]like pistons between their downtown offices and their homes have had virtually no point ofinterplay with their local community.”77 To bring about greater awareness of their community,telework centres are being viewed as important “venues of exchange between companies and localcommunities.”78 With workers staying within the community to work, it is anticipated that thesenew citizens can assist in creating a better community.An added benefit with more people staying within the community to work and, thus, possiblyproviding more eyes on the street is perhaps a decrease in breaking and entering-type crime. Withmore activity in the local shopping areas due to a telework centre or more people at homeworking, the deterrent to crime may be created.Telecommuting should be considered by municipalities in emergency preparedness planning. Therecent Los Angeles earthquake (see section 1.0 Purpose) demonstrates the need for remote officelocations. With people unable to travel to work at all or within a reasonable length of time,satellite offices were immediately in great demand. “More than 30 companies [were] lining up touse a Valencia-based telecommuting center that [had not] yet opened its doors.”79 OneCalifornia-based company had just implemented their telecommuting plan when the earthquakestruck and “within hours of the earthquake all the company’s far-flung workers were up and77’Men start to show some interest in their local community,” International Flexwork Forum, January1994, 9.78Jbjd79T.L. Stanley, “The Northridge Earthquake,” Daily News of Los Angeles, January 28, 1994, SC 1.49running and able to transmit data.”8°Other emergency situations, such as floOds or snow storms, can take advantage of telecommuting.Tasks can still be accomplished, even though the central office is inaccessible. Workers canoperate out of homes, hotels, or telework centres and stay connected to the central office withtelephones (portable if necessary) and personal computers.With the establishment of telework centres, municipalities can receive tax revenues fromcompanies that might not have otherwise located there. However, as is recommended in section10.0, this benefit may be more long term, as tax breaks may be required as an incentive to initiallyestablish the telework centre.Telecommuting can assist municipalities in positioning for the information super highway and newtechnology. The information super highway refers to the ability to access information fromaround the world, remotely. Telecommuting is a way of preparing for the super highway andmunicipal officials must recognize these technological possibilities. The world is changing due totechnology. “With over 90% of jobs located outside the central business districts in mostAmerican cities, riding the train downtown does not present a workable alternative.”8’5.2.2. Areas To Be Addressed by MunicipalitiesIt appears that there is significant benefit in municipalities taking a leadership role in the evolutionof telecommuting. There are at least six areas that municipal officials need to analyze andpossibly to implement changes to actively support, encourage, and evolve telecommuting withintheir community. These areas include the following:80”Quake has Californians tuning in to telecommuting,” The Ottawa Citizen, January 21, 1994, F3.81Joel Kotkin, “Commuting Via Information Superhighway,” The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 1994.501. Land use regulations;2. Land development application review procedures;3. Recreation program planning;4. Municipal infrastructure planning;5. Municipal marketing plans; and6. Municipal employee telecommuting program.The remainder of this paper will examine how a specific municipality, the City of Surrey, B.C.,can address these areas.5.3. City of Surrey, Case StudySurrey is a very fast-growing city located in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Between1986 and 1991, Surrey’s population grew 35% from 181,447 to 245,173. With Vancouver havingthe highest population in British Columbia, (476,378 in 1991), Surrey has the second highest.82Surrey is almost 130 square miles in area and is located thirty-two kilometres (twenty miles) andone river crossing away from Vancouver (see Map 1). In 1991, 113,515 (46%) Surrey residentswere in the employed labour force. Although efforts are being made to improve employmentopportunities within Surrey, the majority of Surrey residents in the labour force, do not work inSurrey (see Appendix I). In 1991, 41% of Surrey residents worked in Surrey, whereas 72% ofVancouver residents worked in Vancouver.82Statistics Canada, 1991 Census.51•FIDewdney-AlouetteSubdivisionALangley1wnshipMission•:LqleyCity______MatsquiAbbotsford‘]iionsBay/6.0. Municipal Land Use Regulations Pertaining to TelecommutingThe municipal system in Canada is based almost entirely on British law and practice. There aretwo orders of government established in the Constitution of Canada: federal and provincial.Municipalities are created by the provinces and can only perform functions which have beenspecifically authorized by provincial statutes. Provinces can only delegate functions to themunicipalities which are within provincial jurisdiction.Although the exact functional responsibilities of municipalities vary widely across Canada, mostCanadian municipalities have been assigned the following functions:1. fire protection;2. construction and maintenance of local roads and services;3. taxation of land and buildings; and4. regulation of local land use.83The common theme in the list of municipal responsibilities is the regulation of property. Theregulation of local land use affects where, and if, telecommuting can occur.In British Columbia, the Municipal Act R. S.B.C. is the major piece of legislation conferring thepower to municipal governments to regulate planning and development. However, there arenumerous other pieces of provincial legislation which affect the nature and process of landdevelopment. Some key examples in British Columbia include:• Land Title Act;• Agricultural Land Commission Act;83Andrew Sacton, “The Municipal Role in the Governance ofCanadian Cities,” Canadian Cities inTransition, 464.53• Highways Act;• Community Care Facilities Act; and• Condominium Act.The Municipal Act R. S.B.C. describes how municipalities are created and delegates certainpowers to the municipalities. Part 29 of the Municipal Act specifies the municipal planning anddevelopment control parameters, including the application, contents and adoption of communityplans (Section 944) and the scope of zoning by-laws (Section 963).84 Licensing of businesses isdelegated to municipalities in Part 11 of the Municipal Act (Section 498).85In order to recognize the trend of people being more concerned about their quality of life andwanting alternatives to the regular long distance commute to work, the City of Surrey shouldupdate its policies and by-laws to permit greater work flexibility opportunities for its residents.With this goal in mind, the decision to not regulate home-based telecommuters should continue,however, explicit statements as to the use being pel-mitted should be made. In addition, the Cityof Surrey should be encouraging the establishment of telework centres within its boundaries.6.1. Official Commñnity PlansAn Official Community Plan (OCP) is a statement of objectives and policies, focusing on thephysical infrastructure and land use within the municipality. The OCP outlines the municipality’sbroad land use principles and subsequent by-laws and policies adopted must be in conformity tothese principles.The City of Surrey’s Official Community Plan (OCP) was adopted in March 1985. It is astatement of objectives, policies and specific proposals regarding land use and community84Province of British Columbia, Municipal Act R.S.B.C., 1979, 286-321.85Jbjd., 130-140.54development. The OCP, through a series of policy statements and maps, sets out Surrey’s broadobjectives with respect to the future pattcrn and form of lan4 use and development.The OCP for Surrey also establishes and applies a generalized form of land use districts, called“Designations” to the entire City. There are nine Designations in total: Downtown, TownCentre, Commercial, Multiple Residential, Urban, Suburban, Industrial, Agricultural and SpecialStudy Area.86 A tenth Designation, Ecological, is proposed but has not received final by-lawadoption.The OCP Designations indicate which zones from the Zoning By-law are permitted within eacharea. Therefore, all developments must conform to the objective and policy statements in theOfficial Community Plan and the Offlcial Community Plan Designations. Chapter II, The PolicyPlan, of Surrey’s Official Community Plan contains eight sections and they are as follows:A. General Development PoliciesB. Residential PoliciesC. Environmental PoliciesD. Parks PoliciesE. Circulation PoliciesF. Health & Safety PoliciesG. Social PoliciesH. Economic Policies87Within each section are objectives and policies which are intended to guide development in Surreyover the next ten years. Seeking employment policies related to telecommuting, only twoexamples were found. The first office employment-based policy in Surrey’s OCP is containedunder Objective 1: Nodal Development of Section A: General Development Policies. This policy(Policy 5: Offices in Town Centres) states “that office developments be encouraged to locate in86Djstiict of Surrey, Surrey Official Commüitv Plan, 58.360.87Ibjd., 125.127.55the town centres and that suburban office parks as well as office developments in industrial areas,be discouraged.”88 This policy is intended to concentrate offices in the town centres anddiscourage dispersal of office space throughout the City. The interpretation of this policy withregards to telecommuting and particularly telework centres may actually result in discouragingtelecommuting.The second policy which has implications on telecommuting is contained under Objective 16:Social Stability of Section G: Social Policies. This policy (Policy 55: Stability ofNeighbourhoods) states “that social stability be enhanced by the physical stability of aneighbourhood and that plans, zoning, and design guidelines contribute to a coordinated, cohesivecommunity.”89 It is conceivable that telecommuting can create a different type of stability thanwas originally intended.With the goal of encouraging businesses to establish telework centres in Surrey, fourrecommendations pertaining to Surrey’s Official Community Plan (OCP) are proposed. Atpresent, Surrey’s OCP is restrictive in terms of office uses, however, the City’s Zoning By-law ismore permissive. Before telework centres can be encouraged to locate in Surrey, the OCP mustbe revised.Referring to the objectives contained in Chapter II of Surrey’s OCP, there is no reference toemployment. Therefore, it is recommended that a new Objective 22: Employment Growth beincorporated under Section H Economic Policies. Objective 22 should promote all types ofemployment and not be limited to only industrial employment (which is referred to in Objective 21Industrial Growth). It is recommended that the following objective and policies be incorporatedin Surrey’s OCP:88Jbj, 139.89Jbjd 223.56Objective 22: EMPLOYMENT GROWTHTo ensure a continued growth in employment opportunities within the City ofSurrey.Policy 76: Balanced EmploymentThat optimum employment growth be encouraged so as to meet the job needs for localemployment of the Surrey work force; and that employment growth be distributed amongas many communities in Surrey as is reasonable.Policy 77: Work OptionsThat a variety of work options such as telecommuting (from neighbourhood, satellite,and home-based offices), flex time and job sharing be encouraged.As noted earlier, the existing Policy 5: Offices in Town Centres can be interpreted as beingcontrary to the goal of promoting telework centres in Surrey. Therefore, it is recbinmended thatthe existing Policy 5 be deleted and replaced with the following:Policy 5: Offices in Town Centres and Neighbourhood CentresThat office developments be encouraged to locate in the town centres and industrialoffice parks and that small office developments be encouraged to locate withinneighbourhoods where neighbourhood commercial establishments are permitted.6.2. Zoning By-lawsZoning has its origins in concerns about public health and protection of private property. Thetraditional role of zoning has been to protect properties from the adverse impacts of incompatibleuses. It typically establishes setbacks, height restrictions, density and bulk limitations so there willbe no overcrowding, and people will have adequate sunlight, fresh air, and fire protection, Zoningis also seen as a means of providing stability and certainty with respect to the future, and therebyprotecting land values.Early zoning by-laws (referred to as ordinances in the United States) were concerned withminimum standards. Modern zoning by-laws and techniques have been designed to achieve abroader range of quality of 4fe objectives. However, the basic purpose of zoning remains the57same: to protect private investment and public interest.Telecommuting from home is generally viewed as an activity with no impact on theneighbourhood and there are typically no policies or by-laws to restrict this use.9° To clarify thathome-based telecommuting is permitted from any residential zone, the Surrey Zoning By-lawshould be amended to so state. Therefore, in order to improve clarity, it is recommended thatPart 1 Definitions and Part 4 General Provisions of the Surrey Zoning By-law be amended byincluding the following:Part I Definitions:Home-Based Business: means an accessory use of a portion of a dwelling unit, usedfor economic gain by the resident, which is wholly enclosed within a building and doesnot generate any noise, smell or glare beyond the dwelling unit.Neighbourhood Office: means a telework centre located in a neighbourhood, wherethe telecommuting workers are employees from different organizations.Satellite Office: means a teiework centre located in a community by one organization,which is intended to provide workspace for their telecommuting employees.Shared Office Facility: means a place where two or more unrelated businesses arelocated together and typically share reception and administrative services andconference rooms.Telecommuting: means an employee performing all or a portion of his or her regularwork activities from a remote location, on a full-time or part-time basis.Telecommuting - Home-Based: means telecommuting from the home or a specifiedarea in a multiple residential development, but excludes home-based businesses.Telework Centre: means a place which is located remotely from the head office wheretelecommuting is carried out, and excludes shared office facilities.Part 4 General Provisions:Uses Permitted in Specific Zones:Home-Based Telecommuting:6. Home-based telecommuting is permitted in all single-family and multiple-familyresidential zones.90This is contrary to home-based businesses in which there are usually strict regulations.58The Zoning By-law does regulate the development of telework centres. In September 1993,Surrey Council adopted a new Zoning By-law (No. 12000). In terms of telework centres, therewere two significant changes from the old to the new by-law. The first significant change was theaddition of the C-5 Neighbourhood Commercial Zone. This zone is intended to accommodateand regulate the development of neighbourhood scale shopping nodes.9’ Specific uses arepermitted with each use being limited to a gross floor area of 4,000 square feet (372 squaremetres) per individual business. Office uses (including telework centres) are specificallypermitted.In terms of office uses, the second significant change between the old Zoning By-law and the newone concerns industrial business parks. In conformity with Policy 5 of the OCP, the old BusinessPark Zone was very restrictive in terms of office uses. When the new Zoning By-law was drafted,there was recognition that Surrey was not developing business parks (i.e. for high tech businesses)as successfhlly as other Lower Mainland jurisdictions (i.e. Richmond). Therefore, the new TBBusiness Park Zone permits office uses without any restrictions.Throughout the Zoning By-law where office uses are permitted, convenience uses (such asrestaurants and banks) are also permitted. The intent is to develop areas where a range ofcompatible uses can be developed and, thereby, provide convenience for the workers. Teleworkcentres are specifically permitted in the following zones:• C-5 Neighbourhood Commercial Zone• C-8 Community Commercial Zone• C-8A Community Commercial A Zone• C- 15 Town Centre Commercial Zone• C-35 Downtown Commercial Zone• RMC- 135 Multiple Residential Commercial 135 Zone• RMC- 150 Multiple Residential Commercial 150 Zone91City of Surrey, Surrey Zoning By-law. 1993. No. 12000, 35.159• 113 Business Park Zone926.3. Business LicensingIt is customary for municipalities to require all businesses operating within their jurisdiction toobtain a business license. The business license system allows the municipality to ensure thatproposed uses conform to the zoning and that parking requirements and signage restrictions aresatisfied. Fees are established for every business and are usually based on the extent of thebusiness (i.e. floor area of the business premises or number of employees). Penalties can beimposed for violating any part of the license.Surrey’s Business License By-law (No. 4747) is concerned with the granting of licenses and theregulation of businesses. This by-law specifies that businesses are required to hold a valid licensein order to operate and that the license must be renewed annually. The fees are specified in aschedule attached to the by-law.In Surrey, because telecommuting from home is seen as incidental to the primary residential use,business licenses are not required to telecommute from home.93 Business licenses are required,however, for businesses with employees teleommuting from telework centres (neighbourhoodand satellite offices).For the purpose of operating a telework centre in Surrey, the annual business license fee variesdepending on the specific use.94 Rather than only the operator of the centre required to hold avalid business license, each business represented in the telework centre is required to obtain a92Jbid., 26.1-27.6 and 35.1 to 47.6.93Again, telecommuting is viewed differently than home-based businesses. For home-based businesses,business licenses are required.94City of Surrey, “Business License By-law, 1976, No. 4747.”60business license. For consulting or technical services, such as bookkeeping, accounting andincome tax services, the fee is $103 plus $14 fçr each employee. For professional practitioners(including doctors, lawyers, professional engineers aid architects) the annual fee is $221 plus $14for each employee. For real estate and insurance agents, the annual fee is $221 plus $28 for eachemployee.This method of fee calculation is an obvious deterrent to prospective organizations consideringimplementing telecommuting from various telework centres. With other Lower Mainlandmunicipalities basing their fees similarly, organizations will not likely have employeestelecommuting from several municialities. If the analogy of a hotel which rents rooms to itsguest was used to determine the rental of office space in telework centres, the business licensewould be based on the number of rooms (or office spaces); the operator of the centre (not theindividual office space users) would be the only business required to obtain a license.In addition to the method of fee calculation, the method of calculating required parking should bereviewed. At present, the Surrey Zoning By-law bases the parking requirements for office useson the number of employees. Because it is likely that more than one worker will share a workspace, the required parking will likely be excessive. For neighbourhood offices and some satelliteoffices, the worker may live close enough to not need a car to travel to work. It is recommendedthat the required parking be based on a portion of the total number of work spaces (i.e. 60%) andnot on the total number ofworkers using the centre.617.0. Telecommuting and Land Develomnent Application ReviewProceduresA major activity municipalities perform is reviewing applications to develop or redevelop lands.This review may involve determining the most appropriate land use, or how that land use can bestbe accommodated through proper siting of buildings or amenities to be provided. An implicitgoal of planners and urban designers has been to build a community infrastructure that supportssocial interaction. A mixture of compatible land uses is a common approach to reach this goal.As explained in section 6.2, telecommuting from home is generally not restricted in mostmunicipalities. Restrictions may be imposed, however, due to homes not being of sufficient sizeto accommodate home-based telecommuting. Bachelor or one-bedroom apartments, for example,may be too restrictive in terms of adequate work and storage space.Anticipating residents’ needs may mean that one of the amenity features of a multiple residentialdevelopment is a library or shared office space with sufficient wiring to accommodate severalworkers at one time. These workers would be residents of the complex and rent for theworkspace could be incorporated in the regular monthly maintenance fees.Whether or not a special room for telecommuting is provided in residential condominiums, effortsshould be made to ensure that strata corporations do not try to prohibit home-basedtelecommuting, Education is likely part of the answer, however, legal means such as restrictivecovenants may be the only means to ensure the use is permitted.In British Columbia, restrictive covenants are legal instruments specified in section 215 of theLand Title Act R. S.B.C. They are used to restrict the use of the land or the use of buildings on62the land.95 The covenant is registered on the title of the land and the municipality would be aparty to that covenant. Thus, the restrictive covenant could stipulate a strata council must allowtelecommuting and retain the shared office space if it is located in the common space of theresidential complex.7.1. Locational Criteria for Telework CentresAs was stated earlier, zoning usually does restrict where telework centres can be located. Toassist in accommodating the development of telework centres, perhaps locational criteria shouldbe developed. It has been suggested that the telework centre “could be linked with the elementaryschool as an organizing principle for neighbourhood planning.”96 Expanding upon this idea, thefollowing are some suggested locational criteria for telework centres in newly developing areasand areas that are redeveloping.Telework centres should be...• centrally located in a populated area;• within a walking distance of 400 metres (one-half mile) to certain commercial uses (i.e.coffee shop, restaurant, convenience store, deli, bank);• in close proximity to child care services;• near public facilities such as park, swimming pool or library; and• well serviced by public transit.Telework centres could be...• within commercial strips and shopping centres;• within industrial business parks; and• within buildings of heritage or cultural significance.95Province ofBritish Columbia, Land Title Act, R.S.B.C., 1979,72.96Penelope C. Gurstein, “Working at Home in the Live-In Office: Computers, Space, and The Social Lifeof Households” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, 1990), 183.63To minimize the need to commute long distances, telework centres should be located in closeproximity to a relatively densely populated areas. Multiple-family residential areas are prime areasfor telework centres due to the higher concentration of possible telecommuters.Telework centres should not be isolated. Services, such as coffee shops, restaurants and banksshould be located within a walking distance of 400 metres (one-half mile). These facilities provideconvenience for the telecommuters and the opportunity for social interaction.In addition to commercial services, amenities and services like child care centres, parks, swimmingpools and libraries should be nearby. These facilities provide the opportunity for social interactionin addition to providing convenience, enjoyment, and sensory relief for the telecommuters. “Thesocial and recreational amenities should recognize the presence of [telecommuters] in theneighbourhood, and orient amenities and activities to encourage their participation.”97With one of the advantages of telecommuting being that traffic congestion could be reduced,telework centres should be nearby a regularly-serviced public transit stop. Ideally, thetelecommuter will walk or cycle to work, but if convenient enough, public transit may bepreferred over the private automobile.Sites which likely meet the above criteria would include main shopping streets (i.e. commercialstrips) and shopping centres. These uses are generally located near higher density residentialareas, include food stores and services and are well serviced by public transit.Industrial business parks are also suitable for telework centres. Although the commercialconveniences will be fewer than along a main shopping street, sufficient services are usually97Ibici., 184.64provided and the rents are genrally lower than commercial areas.Another consideration for a telework centre is a heritage building. Often there is a municipalpolicy to preserve historical buildings, but the economics may dictate otherwise: not all heritagebuildings can be turned into museums. Although not all of the locational criteria noted above maybe satisfied, encouraging the retrofitting of heritage buildings for the development of teleworkcentres can serve two purposes:1. save an historically significant building; and2. provide a place of employment for residents within their community.7.2. Development Guidelines for Telework CentresSuccessfhl telework centres should be located according to the criteria noted in section 7.1. Thecharacteristics of the telework centres themselves, should include:• sufficient bicycle storage facilities;• shower and change room facilities; and• adequate access to natural lighting.One objective of telework centres is to reduce the need for workers to commute great distancesdaily. By locating telework centres closer to where the telecommuters live, increases thelikelihood of people walking or cycling to work. To encourage person-powered commuting,secure bicycle storage facilities should be provided.Related to the above, the provision of adequate shower and change room facilities should beaddressed. These facilities could be incorporated in the telework centre or, if possible, made65available at nearby recreational centres.Consideration should be given to the provision of access to natural light for each of the designatedworkspaces within the telework centre. With security in mind, windows and skylights should bedesigned to provide natural lighting.668.0. Telecommuting and Recreation & Library Program PlanningRecreational facilities and libraries are designed to provide the opportunity for social interaction inaddition to providing enjoyment, exercise and education for the users. As stated in section 7.1,such facilities should recognize the presence of telecommuters in the neighbourhood and orientamenities and activities to encourage their participation.The hours in which programs are offered should be adjusted to accommodate more adults that areremaining in the coniiiuñity during the day. Perhaps during the week, adult-only swimming couldbe offered at noon hours or “how-to” courses offered at 4:00 PM.In addition to rescheduling of programs, the variety of programs offered may need to be expandedto encourage telecommuters to participate. Depending on the number of workers in thecommunity, perhaps noon-hour lectures or educational sessions could be organized which dealwith issues that are pertinent to remote workers. Examples include lectures on the latesttechnological innovations or hands-on demonstrations on how to access international electronicmail systems.To determine the need to adjust programs and scheduling may require a survey of the community.The survey should attempt to determine the number of potential users throughout the day andevening and the types of activities sought. Based on the responses, appropriate adjustments canbe made to the programming and the community should be so advised.The goal should be to encourage more use of the recreational facilities and libraries at all hours ofthe day. With more adults remaining in the community to work, programs which meet their needsshould be an important consideration.679.0. Telecommuting and Municipal Infrastructure PlanningTo ensure that maintenance and construction of roads and services (i.e. water and sewer) areaccounted for in budget preparations, municipalities prepare servicing plans. These plans aregenerally ten-year plans and assume a certain level of population and employment growth. Thegrowth projections are based on past trends and anticipated developments.As described in section 3.1 Society’s Perspective, one benefit of telecommuting can be the controlof infrastructure costs for construction and maintenance. With more employees working closer tohome (or within their homes), the demand on existing roads and public transit may decrease.However, at the same time, the demand on services closer to home (or within the home) mayincrease.Hypothetically, if a telework centre with fifty work stations began operating in a community, therecould be an impact of up to fifty fewer cars on the major roads commuting to the central officearea. On the other hand, with fifty more people staying within the community during the day towork, the demand for services such as water may exceed that which was anticipated.The traditional method of calculating demand on roads and services may need to be reviewed iftelecommuting becomes a popular work option.The degree to which telecommuting is adopted, the specific forms it takes, and themagnitude of the public benefits actually obtained depend largely on attitudes ofpeople toward their work and workplace, the adaptability of corporate culture, thenature of the work performed, and the specifics of changes in their travel behavior.Not surprisingly, there is wide variation among predictions of the fhture oftelecommuting and its impacts...98USA, Department of Transportation, “Transportation Implications of Telecommuting,” vii.6810.0. Telecommuting and Municipal Marketing PlansFor several reasons, including to improve the municipal tax base, commercial and industrialoperations are often sought by Business Development Departments (BDD) from within themunicipal organization. In addressing this pursuit of economic development, there are at leasttwo municipal approaches which can be identified. “The first is a ‘top-down’ model of communityeconomic development that focuses on large, corporate employment.”99 An example is thesuburban BDD trying to entice head offices in the downtown to relocate within their municipalboundaries. For some municipalities, this goal may be too optimistic. The desire of the companyexecutives may be to remain in the downtown where the private clubs, unique services, and othersenior management people are located.’00The second approach to economic development is a “bottom-up model ... based on small andmedium enterprise development ... and [this] has been referred to as the ‘sustainable’ communityconcept.”°’ Telework centres fit into this category and may be a more realistic goal for suburbancommunities, Rather than seeking a complete move of targeted head offices, perhaps aneighbourhood or satellite office is a better alternative. The telework centre could be locatedclose to where a significant number of potential telecommuting employees live.To assist in locating ideal sites for telework centres, employees’ home postal codes can be utilized.The first three digits of the employees’ home postal codes could be gathered and through the useof a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) computer program, mapped to show where thegreatest concentrations of potential telecommuters reside. These concentration areas togetherwith the locational guidelines (see section 7.1), could then be used to determine appropriate99Barbara Orser and Mary Foster, “Home Enterprise: Canadians and Home-Based Work,” 14.100Peter F. Drucker, Managing for the Future: The 1990s and Beyond, 128.101Barbara Orser and Mary Foster, “Home Enterprise: Canadians and Home-Based Work,” 14-15.69locations for telework centres.Another marketing idea which some municipalities could consider are destination remote offices.Destination remote offices are offices and residences established in a resort setting. This newconcept of “bringing the workplace closer to home in a rich natural environment” is currentlybeing studied in Japan.’°2 The Regional Policy Division of Gunma Prefecture sees this newconcept as leading the way in future workspace and lifestyles with the following goals:1. to expand individual lifestyle options;2. to assist corporations to improve their productivity (including creativity) and hiring ability;and3. to revitalize local communities with new jobs, people, and technology.’03To encourage organizations to implement telecommuting programs, municipalities may need toconsider incentives, Savings in terms of tax breaks or waiving of business license fees could beconsidered for the first year of operation, with gradual increases for successive years. Themunicipality’s justification of such revenue deferments would be that the roads and bridges are notunder as much demand due to some of the municipality’s residents telecommuting.10.1. Telecommuting Communication PlanOnce the advantages of telecommuting are understood, municipalities should encourage this workoption. In order for municipalities to succeed in encouraging businesses to implementtelecommuting, employers and employees need to be aware of the concept; one such mode is aconference. Critical to the success of any policy initiative is a properly conceived communications102”Report on Permanent-Residence Resort Offices Model Project,” International Flexwork Forum, 4.103bjd70plan. Using the City of Surrey as the case municipality, the following communication plan isproposed.10.1.1. ConceptThe purpose of the communication plan is to bring about wider awareness of the benefits oftelecommuting.10.1.2. Target AudienceTelecommuting is the concept of employees performing some portion of their regular workactivities from a remote location (typically one to three days per week). Therefore, businesseslocated in downtown Vancouver with many of their employees living south of the Fraser Rivershould be targeted for the conference. Other audience targets should include City Councillors,members of the Chambers of Commerce and members of the Greater Vancouver RegionalDistrict.10.1.3. MessageThe theme should be “move work to the worker and not the worker to the work.” Employersshould learn of the benefits of telecommuting and that the City of Surrey has changed its policiesand procedures to encourage this work option.10.1.4. ModeTo bring about awareness of telecommuting, a conference should be sponsored by the City ofSurrey. The venue should be local and private and public organizations should be invited. In71addition to the conference, posters describing the benefits of telecommuting should be posted attransit stops and on buses.The conference should be intended to inform and bring about change. Experts on implementingtelecommuting programs, corporate telecommuting champions and telecommuters themselvesshould be keynote speakers. Facts on the business and societal benefits of telecommuting (i.e.improved worker productivity, improved quality of work, less road congestion) must bedemonstrated. Information packages should be prepared and distributed to each participant.These packages should contain background information and a map indicating possible sites fortelework centres in Surrey.10.1.5. Follow-UpOnce the conference has concluded, follow-up by the Business Development Department will becritical. Assistance will be required in finding or rezoning suitable telework centre sites. Whererezoning is required, commitments to “fast-track” applications should be given by the City andcarried out by its employees. To ensure that such applications are dealt with expeditiously, staffmust be educated as to the benefits of telecommuting and the importance of their cooperation.7211.0. Municipal Employee Telecommuting ProgramTo illustrate the municipality’s suport of telecommuting, a pilot telecommuting program could beoffered to suitable municipal employees. This effort would not only demonstrate themunicipality’s commitment to telecommuting but should also result in, among other things,improved worker productivity and higher employee morale.For large municipalities, such as the City of Surrey, telework centres could be established indifferent areas of the municipality for its employees. To satisfj the proposed locational criteriaand save costs, municipal satellite offices could possibly be combined with existing recreationalfacilities, libraries, or even fire halls. Alternatively, office facilities shared with other levels ofgovernment or other organizations (i.e. neighbourhood offices) could be considered. As in anycase with shared offices, confidentiality will play a factor but in most cases should not prohibit thework option,In addition to the telework centres, telecommuting from home should be available for qualifiedemployees who do not live near telework centres. Minimal costs are involved in this work placeoption and, therefore, home-based telecommuting may be more desirable from a cost savingspoint ofview.The key to successful telecommuting would be to identify the tasks which can be done remotelyand then the ability of the employees to be effective when working remotely. As stated in section4.1 Suitable Jobs or Tasks, the four key characteristics of tasks that are appropriate fortelecommuting are as follows:1. Task has minimal physical requirements of other labour and capital inputs;732. Task outputs can be defined and measured unambiguously without on-site supervision;3. Task requires concentration; and4. Task requires little unscheduled face-to-face contact.Even though the majority of staff in most municipal governments are unionized, it does not meanthat telecommuting can only be offered to non-unionized employees. The BC SystemsCorporation pilot telecommuting project in Victoria, B.C. demonstrated that telecommuting canbe implemented with both unionized and non-unionized workers. However, to ensure success, itis critical to have the union involved at the beginning.7412.0. Areas for Further StudyThis paper has described what telecommuting is, why it is becoming a popular work option, howmunicipalities can benefit from this trend and in turn how municipalities can assist in itsimplementation. What has not been examined is how other levels of government should becomeinvolved.In the United States, the federal government has encouraged telecommuting as it may assist insatisfying the legislative mandate to improve air quality. The Clean Air Amendment Act (CAAA)is focused on achieving higher levels of air quality, particularly in the more heavily polluted urbanregions and is a major motivation for public sector interest in telecommuting in many areas.As a result of the CAAA, state governments in the United States have assisted local governmentsin implementing telecommuting through various ways such as pilot projects, conferences, andgrants. In most cases, the goals of these pilots have been to eliminate lengthy commutes, reducefuel consumption and improve air quality.In Canada, the federal government implemented a three-year telecommuting pilot for home-basedtelecommuters in August 1992. The purpose of the program is to allow federal governmentemployees to better balance their work and personal lives. There are presently no incentives inplace to expand beyond federal employees.The provincial governments of British Columbia and Ontario have also implementedtelecommuting for their employees. In B.C., telecommuting was initiated to support the principleof environmental responsibility. In Ontario, the program was initiated to retain valuableemployees. To date, there are no programs in place to encourage non-government organizationsto telecommute.75What remains to be studied is whether the enactment of specific legislation has actuallyencouraged at a faster rate, the implementation of telecommuting (i.e. United States). Istelecommuting, as a work option, just as popular where no such legislation is in place (i.e.Canada)?As illustrated in Appendix I, in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland there are over 800,000 peopleemployed in the labour force and residing in eighteen different jurisdictions. There has been a“virtual doubling of the metropolitan population to 1.8 million over the past three decades, andcurrent projections suggesting a population of three million by 202 1.”° Telecommuting couldwell capture a good proportion of this increment.This paper has addressed how one Lower Mainland municipality (the City of Surrey) can addresstelecommuting in its own regulations and procedures. However, to obtain regional benefits fromtelecommuting in the form of reduced transportation infrastructure costs, increased highwaysafety, improved air quality, increased energy conservation, and a greater sense of community, theapproach taken by each jurisdiction should not be contradictory.There should be a common understanding among all municipalities in a region of the concept oftelecommuting, a common definition and a common approach. What should be further studiedare methods which can be used to coordinate jurisdictions, such as the eighteen in the LowerMainland ofBritish Columbia, to encourage telecommuting in the region.Another area which requires further study is the issue of home-based businesses. Like home-based telecommuting, running a business from home is a growing trend. Here too, municipalitiesshould recognize this trend and review their regulations and procedures to ensure their104Thomas A. Hutton, “City Profile: Vancouver,” 18.76appropriateness today. Again, a regional, metropolitan, or at least an inter-municipal economicstrategy is more appropriate than a strictly independent municipal strategy.7713.0. ConclusionTelecommuting deserves serious attention on the part ofmunicipalities because it can deliver largebenefits in economic, environmental, and social terms. Provided that the telecommuting programis properly planned and suitable telecommuters are selected, telecommuting has proven to be abeneficial work option. Among other things: the employee can benefit through greaterempowerment in the workplace, reduced commuting, and improved quality of life; the employercan benefit through improved quality and quantity of output; and society can benefit through lesshighway congestion, reduced energy consumption and a greater sense of community.With the increasing incidence of telecommuting, municipalities must become more aware of theadvantages that accrue to the municipality and the resulting impacts on the operation of themunicipality. Six benefits accrued to municipalities have been identified: transportationinfrastructure cost savings; community development; decreased breaking and entering crimes;emergency preparedness planning; tax base improvements; and assisting in the informationhighway leadership role. To achieve these benefits, however, municipalities must take a proactive role in the evolution of telecommuting.To pro-actively support, encourage and evolve telecommuting within the community, there are atleast six areas which municipalities need to analyze and possibly implement changes. These areasinclude the following:1. Land use regulations;2. Land development application review procedures;3. Recreation and library program planning;4. Municipal infrastructure planning;785. Municipal marketing plans; and6. Municipal employee telecommuting program.Each of these areas have been reviewed in detail and specific recommendations have been madefor the municipality used as a case study -- City of Surrey, British Columbia. For land useregulations, the Official Community Plan, Zoning By-law and Business License By-law have beenreviewed and suggestions have been given which would reinforce Surrey’s intent of improvingemployment within the City boundaries.Following the amendments to the relevant by-laws, a review of the land development applicationprocedure is recommended. To clari1j the City’s position on telecommuting, locational criteria fortelework centres and building guidelines for telework centres have been suggested.With the goal of having more people working from within their neighbourhoods, recreation andlibrary program planning should be reviewed and adjusted accordingly. The times during whichspecific programs are offered should reflect the needs of the community and these needs may bechanging with telecommuting becoming more common.To more accurately project the maintenance and construction of roads and services, municipalitiesshould consider telecommuting as one factor. Traditional methods of forecasting may overestimate certain requirements and under-estimate other requirements.Municipal marketing plans must recognize the growing trend in telecommuting. For suburbancommunities, marketing for head offices to relocate may be inappropriate, whereas marketing thehead office for telework centres may be more successful. To bring about a wider awareness oftelecommuting, a telecommuting communication plan is proposed. One suggested mode is a Citysponsored conference for an audience representing a wide spectrum of interests.79A final suggestion is the implementation of a telecommuting pilot program for municipalemployees. Depending on the size of the municipality, home-based telecommuting andtelecommuting from telework centres could be implemented. To save costs and to conform to thesuggested locational guidelines, telework centres could be established in existing recreationalfacilities or perhaps within other government buildings. With most municipal governments beingunionized, it is critical to involve the union at the beginning to ensure success.In conclusion, telecommuting is a work option that is increasingly common. Although not everyjob may be suitable for telecommuting, certain tasks may be compatible. Telecommuting is notintended to limit face-to-face interaction, but rather to reduce the amount of commuting andimprove productivity when being face-to-face is not necessary. Municipalities can play animportant role in encouraging this work option.80BIBLIOGRAPHYAppleby, Timothy. “Driven to distraction in L.A.” The Globe and Mail, October 26, 1993, A16.Baxter, David. “Changes in Journey to Work Patterns in Metropolitan Vancouver: 1971 to1991. (unpublished report) Burnaby: Greater Vancouver Regional District, January1994.Beck, Nuala. Shifting Gears: Thriving in the New Economy. 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Ottawa: Minister of IndustryTrade and Commerce, 1977. 1971 Census ofCanada. Catalogue number 99-726, Vol VPart 3.Statistics Canada. Where Canadians Work. Ottawa: Minster of Supply and Services, April1978. 1971 Census of Canada. Catalogue number 99-719 (Bulletin 5.2-8).Telecommuting Review: The Gordon Report. New Jersey. Vol. 10 No. 12, December 1993._______Vol. 9No. 7, July 1,1992.TeleTrends. San Diego: Telecommuting Advisory Council (undated).Telework Canada, Burnaby. Summer 1993.___Spring 1993.Toffler, Alvin. The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books, 1980.United States of America. “Transportation Iinplicatiohs of Telecommuting.” Department ofTransportation, April 1993.85Washington State Energy Office, “Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration Case Study:Washington State Telework Center.” (unpublished report) July, 1992.86UCC0= CU —CII>.00Lu>APPENDIX 1Employed Labour Force by Place of Residence and Place of Work:Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area, 1991hTI_i.•ll ——>0i4 1•0a.4>ii! R_-?°—-“ 0o——o0__ >“o000-. 1>0”0,>” -—‘-:n0:DUJ- ——-1--lOEO-i-.---o_0—h0_ Q0 ——0.-—— -I-zo-_ >0 0z__= >zo3 —E-”—”-v ——I—0--—00— T00 --- E -ITEE000000t087


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