More than 33% of P.E.I. civil servants want to work from home, survey finds

Officials with the P.E.I. Provincial government say work continues on the target of facilitating one third of provincial employees to work from home. 

Public Service Commission survey next step in provincial target to get more employees to work from home

Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Steven Myers says having more provincial employees to work from home would mean fewer cars on the road. (Submitted by Sandy Mangat)

Officials with the P.E.I. government say work continues to reach its target of having one third of its employees work from home. 

Earlier this year, Steven Myers, minister of transportation, infrastructure and energy, said the province had about 16 per cent of its employees working from home — and the goal was to have a third of employees work from home, even after pandemic is over.

"It's absolutely still a target," said Myers. "So now it's kind of up to the departments to figure out how to make it work, who can work from home, and more what that looks like."

He said more employees working from home would mean fewer cars on the road, and that would help the province meet some of its environmental goals.  

Myers said a recent survey conducted by the Public Service Commission showed well over 33 per cent of provincial employees would be interested in the option. 

Myers says investments to support provincial employees who wish to work from home are long overdue. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

Myers said — right now — the province is sorting out logistics; everything from IT connectivity to infrastructure.  

He's hopeful the work the province is doing now will help make it simpler for private sector employers to make similar moves with their own workforces.

"If they want to kind of use the same model, hopefully we'll have a lot of the homework done and the kinks worked out of what some of the issues are and what some of the costing of it would be," said Myers. 

Once the system is established, Myers said, there will be some savings on things like rent, utilities, and cleaning. But there will be some added initial costs for things like office furniture and laptop computers, investments Myers said are overdue. 

"Those are challenges that we probably should have tackled as a province, you know, 10 years ago and we didn't," said Myers. 

"So we're just a little bit behind, and I think as we catch up, that will be the costly part."

Officials with the Public Service Commission weren't able to provide a timeline on when the province expects to see 33 per cent of the public service working from home.

It said work is currently underway with departments to implement telework agreements with employees over the long term, on either a part- or full-time basis.

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