By April 25, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Commute Times & Teleworking – Making the link

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Yes, there is a link, and because of gridlock, the time is right for more alternate work arrangements at the office. Not to mention the high cost of real estate. There you go, two drivers (pun intended), one for the employee, one for the employer.

20 years ago, the Corporate Real Estate department I worked with was very progressive in trying different things for the company. We were implementing green initiatives, trying to get the occupants involved in reducing energy, investing in technology, implementing universal space planning and trying work share, hotelling and teleworking.

Unfortunately, some of those CRE initiatives didn’t work as well as hoped – they were simply ahead of their time. Costs hadn’t risen significantly yet and commute times were relatively modest, so making change where change wasn’t wanted was a painful initiative that didn’t create enough benefits.

In two recent ranking studies of international cities, the Economist 2011 Liveability Ranking and the Conference Board of Canada’s Scorecard on Prosperity 2011, there is an interesting characteristic at play. While both studies give give very different rankings to the same cities, a key characteristic for Toronto, Canada had an impact on its ranking, which were #4 in the Economist report and #8 in the Conference Board’s report.You’ve probably already guessed what the problem with Toronto is. It’s Toronto’s average 80 minute commute time, the longest of all cities in one of the studies. And it’s been getting longer each year.

I live near Toronto and commuted there regularly for business. In fact, I’ve been visiting Toronto for 20 years for business, so while I don’t live there, I am intimately familiar with it’s traffic jams and long commute times. I’ve seen my own route into Toronto steadily slow down in the last 10 years as development expands but transit options don’t.

It’s this long commute time that will help drive employees to use alternate work arrangements, including working from home and hoteling, particularly for those who don’t need to be in the office every day.

In a way, that’s a good thing. Changing from commuting to telecommuting will reduce fuel consumption, improve the environment and improve the quality of life for many. And for those who still need to drive, it should get some of the congestion off the roads. Not to mention, you can shrink your company’s office space needs, shrinking your costs at the same time.

It’s unfortunate that it has to get bad before it gets better. While this is an issue in Toronto in particular, other cities have similar problems.

You have to pay for the Economist’s full report, but a summary is available. You can read About The Conference Board of Canada’s report or download it for free.

And if you live in any of these cities listed below, you will find it interesting, whether you agree with the rankings or not. Overall Ranking from the Conference Board of Canada:

  1. Paris
  2. San Francisco
  3. Calgary
  4. Boston
  5. London
  6. Dallas
  7. Seattle
  8. Toronto
  9. Madrid
  10. New York
  11. Tokyo
  12. Barcelona
  13. Sydney
  14. Vancouver
  15. Chicago
  16. Hong Kong
  17. Halifax
  18. Los Angeles
  19. Milan
  20. Montreal
  21. Stockholm
  22. Oslo
  23. Shanghai
  24. Berlin

 

Also, here are two Toronto based articles about the respective reports.

http://www.thestar.com/business/article/942792--toronto-among-most-livable-cities-despite-roads-transit

http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2011/03/28/17783676.html


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