Business booster Calgary Economic Development wants more companies in the city to allow their employees to work from home.
Karen Chown, director of corporate engagement with the organization, said "telework" could relieve pressure on roads and other city infrastructure, cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and be a boon for companies willing to try it.
"The retention-of-employee level is usually significantly heightened … and productivity improvements are significant," Chown said.
The organization, which has a mission to foster business growth in Calgary, is consulting with businesses as well as outlying communities to develop a three-year regional "telework" initiative.
The initiative, to be unveiled next year, is expected to cost between $800,000 and $3 million to implement, with the agency looking for funding from governments and business partners.
Not every job is conducive to working from home, Chown said. But some employees could work from home or at a remote work centre close to home, even a few days a week. Some companies, such as Telus Corp., already allow employees to do this.
Scott Fleming, who advises companies on how to set up telework systems, said almost everyone has a phone and a computer at home already.
"The other big barrier is mid-management saying, 'Well, if I can't see them, I can't manage them,' but with all the collaborative tools we have, you can be just as effective."
Calgary Economic Development is a corporation funded by the City of Calgary, private industry and other levels of government. It is managed by an independent board of directors.