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Potential Impacts of Telecommuting on Transportation Behaviours, Health and Hours Worked in Québec

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  • Georges A. Tanguay
  • Ugo Lachapelle

Abstract

Drawing on data from the Statistics Canada General Social Survey 2010 (GSS), this research presents a statistical characterization of telecommuters in Québec, and estimates some of the potential impacts of telecommuting on transportation behaviours, health and hours worked. First, we describe the context that fuelled the growth of telecommuting, and estimate the size of the worker populations concerned by the different types of telecommuting by industry, based on the main socioeconomic and spatial statistics. These results are then compared with experiences outside Québec linked to incentive measures to favour telecommuting. Second, we make estimates to explain telecommuting activity. We show that the number of telecommuters in Québec is situated at about the national average, but, all things being equal, the probability of observing telecommuting in Québec is greater than elsewhere in Canada. Compared with employees working uniquely at the regular workplace, telecommuters are on average more affluent and educated, more urban, live closer to or farther from the workplace and are less unionized. Third, we econometrically estimate the relationships between telecommuting and: i) total travel time); ii) travel schedules; iii) levels of reported health and stress, and the feeling of being pressed for time; and iv) hours worked. These estimates consider behaviours according to types of organization of work, socioeconomic characteristics and time use. The models estimated specifically pertain to Québec and show that there are generally few significant differences between respondents in Québec and in the rest of Canada. Concerning transportation behaviours, telecommuting is generally associated with a reduction in travel during peak periods. In contrast, compared with work uniquely at the regular workplace (e.g. office), telecommuting may have different effects on total travel time during the workday. Employees working only at home travel on average 19 minutes less, whereas those who divide their work between home and the regular workplace travel for the same amount of time as other employees. Employees working at several sites, including third places (e.g. cafes), travel for about 17 minutes longer per day on average. Further, depending on its form, telecommuting is associated with increases or decreases in hours worked on the survey day. Compared with employees who work only at the regular workplace, people who work only at home work about 2 hours and 15 minutes less. Respondents who combine work at home and/or at the regular workplace with other places work about 43 minutes less. In contrast, employees who work at home and at the regular workplace reported nearly 49 more minutes of work. Lastly, telecommuting is associated with increased feelings of stress and being pressed for time, but has no links to reported health. French version of this project report Ce rapport de recherche utilise les données de l’Enquête sociale générale (ESG) de Statistique Canada menée en 2010 afin d’établir une caractérisation statistique des télétravailleurs québécois et d’estimer certains des impacts potentiels du télétravail sur les comportements relatifs aux déplacements, la santé et les heures travaillées. Nous présentons d’abord le contexte ayant mené à la croissance du télétravail, des estimations de la taille des populations de travailleurs concernés par les différents types de télétravail en fonction des industries et des principales statistiques socioéconomiques et spatiales. Ces résultats sont ensuite mis en perspective avec les expériences hors Québec, notamment en ce qui a trait aux mesures incitatives pour favoriser le télétravail. Dans un deuxième temps, nous procédons à des estimations visant à expliquer l’activité de télétravail. Nous montrons que le nombre de télétravailleurs québécois se situe dans la moyenne nationale, mais, toutes choses étant égales par ailleurs, la probabilité d’observer du télétravail au Québec serait plus grande qu’ailleurs au Canada. Comparativement aux employés travaillant uniquement du lieu habituel de travail, les télétravailleurs sont en moyenne plus riches et éduqués, plus urbains, habitent plus près ou plus loin du lieu de travail et sont moins syndiqués. Dans un troisième temps, nous estimons économétriquement les relations entre le télétravail et : i) les temps totaux de déplacements ; ii) les horaires de déplacements ; iii) les niveaux de santé, de stress déclarés et du sentiment d’être pressé et iv) les heures travaillées. Ces estimations tiennent compte des comportements en fonction des types d’organisation du travail, des caractéristiques socioéconomiques et des emplois du temps. Les modèles estimés considèrent spécifiquement le Québec et montrent qu’il n’y aurait généralement pas de différences significatives entre les répondants du Québec et ceux du reste du Canada. En ce qui concerne les comportements en transport, le télétravail est généralement associé à une réduction des déplacements en périodes de pointe. Par contre, comparativement au travail uniquement du lieu habituel (p. ex. bureau), le télétravail pourrait avoir différents effets sur le temps total de déplacements durant la journée de travail. Les employés travaillant exclusivement de la maison se déplaceraient en moyenne 19 minutes de moins, tandis que ceux partageant le travail entre la maison et le lieu habituel auraient des temps équivalents. Les employés travaillant de plusieurs endroits, incluant des tiers-lieux, auraient des temps de déplacements supérieurs d’environ 17 minutes par jour en moyenne. En termes d’heures travaillées, selon ses différentes formes, le télétravail mènerait à des baisses ou à des hausses pour la journée d’enquête. Comparativement aux employés qui ont travaillé uniquement du lieu de travail habituel, ceux travaillant uniquement de la maison auraient travaillé environ 2 heures 15 minutes de moins. Les répondants ayant combiné le travail à la maison et/ou celui au lieu habituel de travail avec d’autres lieux travailleraient environ 43 minutes de moins. Par contre, les employés ayant travaillé de la maison et du lieu de travail habituel rapportent près de 49 minutes de travail de plus. Finalement, le télétravail est associé à une hausse des sentiments de stress et d’être pressé, mais n’aurait pas de liens avec la santé déclarée. Version en français de ce rapport de projet

Suggested Citation

  • Georges A. Tanguay & Ugo Lachapelle, 2019. "Potential Impacts of Telecommuting on Transportation Behaviours, Health and Hours Worked in Québec," CIRANO Project Reports 2019rp-07, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirpro:2019rp-07
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    File URL: https://cirano.qc.ca/files/publications/2019RP-07.pdf
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