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Telework Boosts Volunteerism

Looking to get involved in your community? Try teleworking. A new study shows that people are 44 percent more likely to regularly volunteer if they have flexible work arrangements, like flexible schedules and the option to work remotely. The Canadian government released a report yesterday (h/t Globe and Mail) that looks at the link between flexible work arrangements and volunteering. Here are some highlights:

Among full-time workers with flexible work conditions, that is, those who can choose their start and finish times and who work at home at least occasionally, 26% volunteered on a regular basis. The corresponding number for those with fixed working schedules and who did not work at home was 18%.

Commuting time also affected the likelihood of being a regular volunteer. Among full-time workers who took 45 minutes or more to get to work, 15% were regular volunteers. For those whose commute was 30 minutes or less, the rate was 21%.

This benefit isn’t talked about as much because it’s harder to quantify, but these numbers show that the benefits of telework extend beyond the workplace. Commutes don’t just harm the environment and give children asthma. They produce less engaged citizens and looser-knit communities. Kill the commute and spend more time with your neighbors instead.

[Volunteering image courtesy of Wikimedia.]

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  • Anthony

    What about people who hate working at home? Getting into an office helps me be productive. Also, the morning commute into downtown Chicago is one of the most exhilarating experiences of my day, provided that it is on an express train and not in a car. This telework just seems like a way to give companies an excuse not to pay for an office. If I was forced to work from home, I’d probably relocate to starbucks or the local library.

  • Harold Jones

    I’ve been working from home for 7 years now. It’s definitely not for everybody but it works well for me. I do miss being around my coworkers but working from a Starbucks or the Library doesn’t really work out that well for me. I use a soft phone for my office line and spend most of the day VPN’d in to customer networks and the data connections available in public spaces usually aren’t stable or fast enough for me to work. Also, although I can be around people when working from a public space, they aren’t my coworkers so they provide all the distractions with none of the benefits that you get from being in an office.

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