Report – Shorter Commute for Employee Satisfaction

Tuesday Dec 03 2013

Oxford Properties and Environics Research Group have stated that reducing commute times is highly important to Canadian employees. One third of the those surveyed would work an extra 3 hours for a less commute to the office.

How far do you commute? Are you close to amenities that suite your needs to create a balance with work and personal life?

Cycling to Work



By Mario Toneguzzi

CALGARY – A shorter commute, access to amenities and collaborative work environments are key drivers of employee satisfaction and retention, says a new report on the future of work in Canada.

The Destination Collaboration: The Future of Work study released Tuesday by Oxford Properties and Environics Research Group, said reducing commute times is so important to Canadian employees that one third of those surveyed said they would be willing to work an extra three hours per week for a reasonable commute to the office.

In the report, 50 per cent said commute time is the top factor that would cause them to choose one employer over another when everything else is equal.

Andrew McAllan, senior vice-president and managing director of real estate for Oxford Properties, said one of the most surprising elements of the survey was the response from the tech and social media savvy Generation Y. He said this demographic is about one third of the country’s population and the next wave in the labour force.

The survey found that it places greater importance on working from an office environment.

“Recently we saw the CEO of Yahoo, one of the most technological companies around, order all of her employees to return to the office,” said McAllan. “This obviously has profound implications on real estate companies and what we got out of this is the 25 to 35 year olds value the collaborative aspects that come from them all working in the same geographic area and by that I mean being within an office.”

The report found that: 82 per cent feel a commute time of less than 30 minutes is the appropriate travel time to work; about 40 per cent want their workplace to be close to lifestyle amenities, such as shops, restaurants and gyms to better balance their work and personal life priorities; 57 per cent said they collaborate more than they did five years ago; 44 per cent value a workplace that is easily accessible by public transit or within walking/biking distance (35 per cent); and working from home is not the norm with the average respondent working only 1.8 days from home per month.

But the flexible work trend is catching on throughout the country, says the leader of a national initiative promoting the workplace change.

“While flexible work used to be an HR-driven initiative, increasingly it is real estate and facilities management driving the agenda, which makes complete sense: they can build an incredibly robust business case to support it,” said Robyn Bews, executive director of WORKShift Canada.

“Think about it, we’re already working differently which means a huge percentage of desks sit empty at any given point during the day. Does it make sense for an organization to continue to pay for one desk per employee anymore? Many organizations across the country are beginning to think not.”

The WORKShift initiative, which began in Calgary in 2009 with Calgary Economic Development, has expanded across the country to Ottawa and Halifax this year.

“With our presence in Ottawa, Calgary and Halifax and the ongoing development of our standards organization, we expect to increase the visibility of flexible work and to support more companies across the country to drive this agenda and realize the benefits,” said Bews.


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