Employers divided on benefits of telecommuting

Alberta most likely to offer option, Atlantic least likely: Survey
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 04/26/2013

There is a significant difference of opinion on whether telecommuting supports employee morale and productivity, according to a BMO Bank of Montreal poll of Canadian business owners.

Among businesses that offer telecommuting — the ability to work remotely from outside the office — to employees, 65 per cent said it had a positive impact on employee productivity and 58 per cent said it improved the quality of work produced by those employees who telecommute.

However, a number of employers are hesitant to offer telecommuting, with 61 per cent citing concerns about the possibility of lower morale and 53 per cent troubled by the prospect of a loss of productivity.

Overall, two-thirds (64 per cent) of companies found telecommuting had a positive impact on morale and the ability to attract and retain talented employees. And 54 per cent reported a reduction in office and overhead expenses.

"In an evolving workforce, Canadian businesses are fighting to be flexible, innovative and enticing by offering incentives that will benefit not only the organization, but also their employees," said Steve Murphy, senior vice-president of commercial banking at BMO Bank of Montreal. "These flexible work arrangements help employees achieve greater work-life balance, improve workplace productivity and strengthen employee morale."

Currently, 23 per cent of companies offer telecommuting, found the survey of 500 employers. Large businesses are twice as likely to offer telecommuting (47 per cent of large businesses versus 22 per cent of small businesses), while eight per cent of employees of all businesses work remotely.

Regionally, companies based in Alberta are most likely to offer telecommuting to employees (34 per cent), while companies based in the Atlantic provinces are least likely (16 per cent).

Employers offering telecommuting, by province

Overall

Atlantic

Quebec

Ontario

Prairies

Saskatchewan

Alberta

B.C.

23%

16%

23%

20%

23%

23%

34%

26%

Employers offering telecommuting, by sector

Business/finance

Manufacturing

Retail

Services

Agri-business

28%

14%

14%

13%

3%

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