UBC Theses and Dissertations
Telecommuting: a municipal government perspective Robertson, Judith Irene
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 of their regular work activities from a remote location, while receiving their regular salary and benefits. This remote work location is typically a satellite office, a neighbourhood office or the employee’s home. Most telecommuting occurs on a part-time basis, one to three days per week. Not every job nor every worker is suitable to telecommute. Although the actual number of telecommuters is unknown, it has been estimated that approximately 7.6 million Americans were telecommuters in 1993 -- 6.1% of the total American workforce. If even a slightly smaller proportion of telecommuters is applied to the Canadian workforce (i.e. 5.75%), there are at least 738,150 Canadian telecommuters. While being influenced by many factors, telecommuting has risen in prominence primarily due to transformations in telecommunications and information technology, the nature of work, the workers, the workplace, urban highway congestion and in some jurisdictions, environmental legislation. Encouraging the establishment of telework centres and home-based telecommuting can increase employment opportunities within the community. Reducing the number of daily trips to a central work place may reduce transportation infrastructure costs (construction and maintenance) and have a positive effect on the environment (improved air quality and energy conservation). With more people staying within their neighbourhood to work, a greater sense of community can result. Telecommuting deserves serious attention on the part of municipalities because it can deliver large benefits in economic, environmental and social terms. This paper is designed to inform, stimulate discussion, and aid in the review of out-dated municipal regulations and procedures as they pertain to telecommuting.
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