Lack of commute means big savings for teleworkers

Canadians saving 55 minutes per day or 8.4 days per year

Lack of commute means big savings for teleworkers
Individually, Canadian teleworkers are saving 8.4 days per year in total in not commuting.

If all Canadians who can work from home started teleworking instead of commuting, they could save about 55 minutes per day, on average.

“These gains are the largest for workers in large urban cities with high population densities and long commute times, as well as for those living in cities that neighbour large metropolitan areas for which intercity commuting is common,” says a report from Statistics Canada.

For example, those living in Toronto could save an average of 72 minutes per day, compared to 64 minutes in Montreal or 60 minutes in Vancouver and 36 minutes in St-John's or Regina.

On balance, the reductions in commute times do not vary much by age group, marital status or presence of children in the family, says the government. However, there is a positive relationship between time savings and educational attainment; for example, workers with less than a high school diploma would save an average of 46.6 minutes per day while those with a bachelor’s degree or higher would save an average of 58.5 minutes per day.

“Widespread telework adoption could have implications for worker retention and firm productivity. Therefore, the social and macroeconomic effects of this transition would likely be much broader. The extent to which telework persists after the pandemic subsides, as well as the resulting implications for worker and firm dynamics, remain to be seen but constitutes an important avenue for future research,” says the report Working from home: Potential implications for public transit and greenhouse gas emissions.

More than one-third (34.7 per cent) of new teleworkers say they work longer hours now, according to a separate report from StatCan.

8.4 days per year

Overall, billions of combined hours are being saved by people not commuting, according to another survey.

The average one-way commute time is 26.2 minutes for 15.9 billion commuters in Canada. And with 40 per cent of them shifting to remote work, the combined time saving equates to 1.37 billion hours, according to

Individually, Canadians are saving 8.4 days per year in total, but the number of hours saved depends on the type of commute.

Those who drive to work are saving 7.7 days in total, based on the average commute time of 24.1 minutes. Meanwhile, those taking public transit, whose average commute is 44.8 minutes, are saving 14.3 days.

A separate report in October 2020 found that 44 per cent of American workers said their work-life balance improved as a result of the remote work model.

Helping employees

Establishing a healthy work-life balance is one of the biggest challenges for people working from home, according to Randstad.

“When your work and home lives merge in one location the lines can blur. It’s easy to overwork or get caught up in distractions. Creating separation between work and home life reduces stress and the potential for burnout. This is easier said than done, of course. When working from home, it can be very difficult to get away from work. You’re in the same space all the time. It can feel like you don’t have any downtime.”

Randstad suggests that employers do the following to help their employees:

  • Prioritize flexibility.
  • Have set work hours.
  • Trust your remote employees to manage their time and workload.
  • Minimize communications outside of work hours.
  • Encourage defined workspaces.
  • Promote wellness.
  • Communicate often.

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