British Columbia

Would you take a plane to work? The rise of the super-commuter

More employees are shuffling between two cities for work, even setting up part-time homes.

A study shows more workers are travelling greater distances between work and home

There are commuters, and then there are super-commuters

A study by the Rudin Centre for Transporation  has documented an increase in the number of so-called super-commuters who are travelling 200 kilometres or more once or twice weekly, by air, rail, car or bus, to get to a regular work location.

The study calls super-commuters a "rapidly-growing part of the workforce," accounting for 13 per cent of workers in major U.S. cities. In Houston, they found a growth of 98 per cent between 2002 and 2009.

Long-distance commuters should be able to get plenty of work done while in transit. (CBC)

But the trend in not just in the U.S., according to Cissy Pau, a principal consultant with Clear HR Consulting, who sees many B.C. workers commuting great distances between home and work.

"We have certainly seen more clients where employees either live in the Okanagan, and they drive to Vancouver, or they're in the Okanagan and they fly up to Fort McMurray [Alberta],"says the Vancouver-based human resources consultant.

"Especially with the shortage of skilled workers, employers are really needing to find skilled talent wherever they can get it."

For those considering taking a job in a different city, the CBC's Michelle Eliot put together this list:

5 tips for long-distance commuters

1. Crunch the numbers.  Regular ferry rides and airplane flights, and hotel rooms, can get expensive. Consider whether the costs of travel and accommodations outweigh any savings or added earnings brought on by long-distance commuting.

2. Make it cheap!  Katie Warfield, a Surrey, B.C. communications professor, commutes by ferry from Victoria. Warfield avoids vehicle fares by taking the bus to the ferry terminal. While in the Lower Mainland, she stays with a friend for free.

3. Use your time in transit wisely.  Technology enables you to conduct plenty of work while commuting. Use mobile devices to read emails or write reports. It means you have more free time once you return home.

4. Communicate with your family. Find ways to stay in touch while you're away. Warfield's husband sets up an iPad at the dinner table so she can virtually join him and their two children. And maintain ongoing discussions about what effect the arrangement is having on your family life.

5. Don't forget to talk to your boss.  If you're only in the office for two days a week because you reside in another city, make sure you maintain contact with your colleagues and superiors while you're away.