Canadians spending too much time, money commuting

Longest commutes in Ontario, B.C. at 48 minutes: Workopolis
||Last Updated: 08/24/2011

With Labour Day less than two weeks away, back to school and the return to “regular” work means more cars on the road and more people commuting. The average Canadian worker is spending 42 minutes commuting to and from work from each day, according to a recent survey by Workopolis.

She’s also spending $269 each month on associated costs working away from the home, with the largest cost being transportation at $146 per month. That's the equivalent of 182 hours and more than $3,000 per year, said Workopolis.

"We spend a lot of time and money getting to and from work each day — not to mention the environmental strain and stress that comes with commuting," said Kelly Dixon, president of Workopolis. "Today, working from home is a viable option for many. We need to continue to promote the benefits of telecommuting and encourage more flexible working arrangements for Canadian workers."

The more common modes of commuting include:
•car (69 per cent)
•public transit (19 per cent)
•carpooling (10 per cent)
•walking (12 per cent)
•bicycling (four per cent).

The longest average commuters reside in provinces with Canada's most urban cities, found the survey of 1,001 workers. Those in British Columbia and Ontario lead the way with an average commute time of 48 minutes each, while Atlantic Canadians and Quebecers spend the least amount of time commuting (31 minutes and 34 minutes respectively).

About four-tenths (38 per cent) of Canadian workers work from home a few days per month and 68 per cent of respondents indicated they have turned down a job prospect just to avoid a long commute.

"Grappling with gridlock is a terrible way to begin or wrap up any workday," said Dixon. "Offering Canadian workers the option to work from their own homes, even if it's just one day a year, would do wonders for our collective rush hour mentality."

The top five ways teleworkers would spend the time they would normally be commuting are:
•Completing chores or housework (83 per cent)
•Spending time with family or friends (79 per cent)
•Engaging in other recreational, hobby or leisure activities (76 per cent)
•Preparing more nutritious meals (74 per cent)
•Getting more sleep (71 per cent).

However, 58 per cent of respondents said they would spend the extra time working more hours. This number is even higher for those Canadians who are already working from home some of the time (73 per cent).

Workopolis is championing a National Work From Home Day with the goal of one day being recognized by the federal government.

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