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The Toronto commute: what a nightmare

What I’m about to tell you does not sound pretty.

Especially for our friends in Toronto.

Brace yourself.

In a Star story this morning, we learned that Torontonians will have 32 minutes added to their already-lengthy commute to work over the next 25 years if Metrolinx’s Big Move regional transportation plan doesn’t come to fruition.

32? Ugh.Freeway traffic jam

The average commute in Toronto is already 80 minutes, according to CivicAction, a civic leadership group trying to rally support for taxes dedicated to transit expansion.

Taxes? Eesh. Don’t we have a better solution, telecommuters?

When the Star story tells us traffic jams and other commuting obstacles are estimated to “cost about $6 billion annually in lost productivity,” we smile, knowing we have traded the rails and roads for the morning plod in our slippers to our home office or laptop precariously balanced on our knees while we sip home-brewed coffee and give our canine and feline pals a scritch-a-scratch behind the ears.

Hell’s bells, recently released its annual report on telecommuting statistics and estimates that a typical business can save $11,000 per person per year by allowing full-time telecommuting.

And the telecommuters themselves can save between $2,000 and $7,000 per year in transportation costs.

CivicAction has started a “32 campaign” on its website, asking guests to reveal what they would do with those 32 minutes that are looming on their commute.

And their responses?

✔ 42 per cent would spend more time with family and friends
✔ 32 per cent would live a healthier lifestyle
✔ 17 per cent would get more sleep
✔ Six per cent would devote more time to their pets
✔ Three per cent would spend more time on hobbies

Now I don’t know about my teleworking friends but remote work does let me spend more time with my dog, more time working out and riding my bike, and more time sleeping.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

We probably should bear in mind that the statistics are U.S. generated but the theory is no less applicable to the Canadian corporate environment that needs to embrace telecommuting. It will alleviate pressure on aging transportation infrastructure, save corporations and individuals money and, of course, increase employee engagement and productivity.

What are we waiting for?

Start incorporating telecommuting into your business strategy. And don’t forget the tools that help you accomplish it: conference calling and web conferencing.

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Web conferencing explodes in Asia Pacific

It sounds like our friends on the Asia Pacific Rim are really starting to embrace web conferencing and the benefits it brings a company or organization.

Wainhouse Research, an independent analyst firm that focuses on critical issues in unified communications and collaboration, recently released its study on the web conferencing market in Asia Pacific. It describes web conferencing as “an essential tool for corporate training, professional development, distance education, virtual schools, and other applications that support teaching and learning.”

The report found an awesome 56 per cent growth rate over five years in the overall use of conferencing services in Asia Pacific. In 2012, the region saw a 15 per cent growth over 2011 in total conferencing revenue, totalling $828.8 million. Audio conferencing accounted for 81 per cent of the revenue total, while web conferencing and video conferencing were responsible for 14 per cent and five per cent, respectively.

We know web conferencing saves companies time and money by bringing together corporate teams that are scattered around the city, the country or even the world. It’s a great way to stay connected with your telecommuting employees and virtual teams.

OnConference’s web-conferencing services lets you share your presentation — for corporate updates, product launches, training or whatever you have in mind — on any web browser. You can play video, poll participants, upload other files and let conference call participants text chat among themselves during the presentation.

We also have Meeting Manager that helps you schedule and invite participants to your web conference and a record and playback function that lets you archive your presentation.

Our clients love our web-conferencing service.

“The Canadian Real Estate Association and several other regional boards have been using this service with excellent results for online training and rpesentations at a fraction of the cost of in-person meetings,” says Marc Lafrance, CREA director of marketing. “It is simple and easy to use. CREA wants to champion leading-edge services with our membership to help them facilitate online training and remote presentations, and lower overall program costs.”

Let’s chat! How are you using web conferencing to further your business communications and goals?

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