The word telework has now generally replaced older terms like telecommuting or online work. It refers to any work done at a distance using signal infrastructure - including mobile work, though that is often distinguished.

It is critical to sustainability as it replaces transport with communication, at a drastic savings in energy, smog, human time and sheer frustration. It is a high priority in government, especially those governments committed to Kyoto Protocol.

official position

The Government of Canada http://s151287742.onlinehome.us/ as:


Life- Work Balance Improvement

Telework can enable staff to work wherever the job best gets done and can also used as a human resources tool in organizations where employees’ “work – life balance” is a focus. It can become part of an encompassing human resources tool kit that may also include flextime or compressed work week. Individual telework arrangements can be flexible work options offered by the employer to address specific employee/work issues such as accommodating a “special needs” individual or speeding along a time-sensitive project. During periods of construction, highly sensitive staff or staff who might be negatively affected by exposure to dust and building toxins would be targets for a temporary remote work arrangement.
A virtual workplace is family responsive. 75% of the federal government’s Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) Ontario region staff and 40% of managers used their ability to work remotely as a substitute for absenteeism during illness or personal-family need days. 50% of these remote employees reported using their virtual capabilities to avoid absenteeism in the month preceding the data collection. 76% of virtual workplace staff report a much better balance scheduling the demands of work and family life. 71% say the option had a positive effect on scheduling care or other family needs.

http://s151287742.onlinehome.us/?id=clients" rel="external">Source: Tracking Temporary Telework at PWGSC – Ontario Region – Telecommuting Consultants International, Inc. http://s151287742.onlinehome.us/?id=clients

Commute Reduction

High costs for inner city housing and increased volume of traffic has resulted in a longer, more demanding commute in many Canadian cities. The amount of time necessary to cover the same distance is increasing every year. In a recent PWGSC study, each staff member was spending an average of 36 hours per month commuting, or a full 37-hour work week. Using 1.6 days of remote work per week, each commuter avoided spending 2 workdays per month in traffic and, over a year, avoided 6 x 24 hour days in commute time. Remote workers reported they could allocate avoided commute to work and family time. Additionally, reducing reliance on a main office enhances and expands staff options for affordable housing.

Source: Tracking Temporary Telework at PWGSC – Ontario Region – Telecommuting Consultants International, Inc.http://s151287742.onlinehome.us/?id=clients



Telework is designed to address a space/cost management challenge where avoidance or recouping of hard space costs are the main impetus. Examples of this strategy in action include increasing shared workstation ratios among virtual staff and reallocating the saved space for other uses, or relinquishing the space altogether. "Temporary Telework" is an innovative application of Telework. It involves the dispersal of staff to remote or offsite locations, enabling the shutting down of target floors during construction or emergency, without having to incur the costs of market lease swing space.
IBM Corporation has calculated that it has saved $100 Million U.S. as a result of its ambitious program to improve worker mobility, principally by relying on various teleworking strategies.

Competitive Imperative

Telework can be used in organizations that rely on technological interconnections between people and information as a competitive advantage, to maximize speed and consistency of response to business and customer needs. The consideration of a telework strategy should be based on the outcomes that the option is capable of producing for the enterprise. Telework involves the re-location and/or duplication of a set of tools, enabling staff to perform all or some of their tasks from a location remote from the traditional office. IBM has quantified the savings resulting from its e-learning initiative as $350 Million U.S. Giving staff the tools to work offsite, or virtually, means work can be carried out from one or several locations, including a home office, a client’s or another government site, or “on the road.” By extending the spectrum of where work can be done, the walls of the traditional office expand. Reciprocally, the overall reliance on dedicated facility space is reduced or becomes redundant, as work type and function migrate to the “site where the job best gets done.” HP Corporation’s ‘Extending the Enterprise’ initiative is a notable example of this approach.

The use of telework typically produces other benefits for the organization, or employer such as:

Job Performance

”Productivity reflects results as a function of effort.” A workplace is a framework in which performance and the well-being of employees go hand in hand. The most effective workplace redesign is one that reduces the physical and psychological demands of the job, resulting in enhanced productivity and organizational success. Expanding the context in which work can be accomplished improves the flexibility of skills application and contributes to increased autonomy and job satisfaction. Tracking research consistently indicates that when the location from which work is delivered is less important than what is delivered, than the resulting job performance and quality of output are enhanced by increments of between 5% and 20%.

Source: Brinkerhoff, R., & Dressler, D., Introduction to Productivity Measurement, Beyond Accuracy: What Makes Successful Measures, from Productivity Measurement: A Guide for Managers and Evaluators, (Sage Publications, 1990), pp. 15-25, 45-54.

Reduced Absenteeism

Absenteeism is one way staff manifest the stress of work-life conflicts. Any reduction in absenteeism is an indication that a workplace redesign has effectively reduced such stress. Some studies show that virtual work options can reduce typical absenteeism by an average of 1-2 days per year, per employee. More recent PWGSC data indicates reductions during winter months can be as high as 1-2 days per month. Staff with the tools to work remotely can get the job done when a family or personal issue, work load, the weather, or an emergency prevent them from attending the office site. The ability to work away from the office can slow down or prevent the spread of contagious diseases and thereby benefit the entire work group, not just the teleworkers.

http://s151287742.onlinehome.us/?id=clients" rel="external">Source: Tracking Temporary Telework at PWGSC – Ontario Region – Telecommuting Consultants International, Inc. http://s151287742.onlinehome.us/?id=clients

Retention and Duty to Accommodate

It has been studied and proven that staff retention improves in organizations that integrate virtual work environments. Studies consistently show that employees are prepared to stay longer in jobs that incorporate a remote component. Between 20% and 33% of virtual staff say they would choose remote work over a salary raise. Staff with special needs or physical challenges stay in jobs and remain productive, if accommodated by the flexibility to work remotely.

http://s151287742.onlinehome.us/" rel="external">Source: Telecommuting Consultants International, Inc. Normative Database – 2004. http://s151287742.onlinehome.us/


Environmental Impact

Commute and travel avoidance are common outcomes of telework and flexible work environments. Teleworking reduces greenhouse gas and other air emissions associated with the commute which make for a healthier environment. By using low cost remote technology and connectivity to enable virtual work can help your company to meet environmental goals."

against the unions?

The Civic Efficiency Collaborative and Service Canada projects seek to employ more telework in municipal and federal governments respectively.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has often resisted such projects since they mean more use of part-time and contractors, and less use of fulltime staff.

Green positions

In the paper Efficient Politics, Craig Hubley proposed that almost all work in the Green Party of Canada should be executed as telework. Today, most of it is.

A similar position of Frank Cameron that it should be conducted almost solely by volunteers achieved some currency in

Some useful references on this subject include the practical hubley.org 'how to manage telework' and the GFDL corpus en: wikipedia: telework article.