Less than 10% of Australian employers allow all employees to telecommute

by FM Media
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Technological advancements are changing the definition of the workplace, but Australia seems to be slow on the uptake when it comes to teleworking, according to a white paper by Hays that stresses the importance of employers ensuring their staff achieve work/life balance, particularly due to portable technology bringing work into their personal lives.

Technological advancements are changing the definition of the workplace, but Australia seems to be slow on the uptake when it comes to teleworking, according to a white paper by Hays entitled Tomorrow’s Workforce. The white paper found that working remotely, or teleworking, is becoming more acceptable by employers and employees, and will allow for greater flexibility in who works when. In addition, it notes that where employees work will no longer really be an issue.
However, the white paper finds that Australia is lagging behind many other countries in the uptake of teleworking. In the US, for instance, 11 million people reportedly telecommute at least one day of the week, but according to the more than 870 employers and candidates surveyed for the Hays white paper, less than 10 percent of employers in Australia say they make telecommuting available to all employees.
The Australian Government has recognised the importance of new ways of working, having launched initiatives such as National Telework Week to increase the uptake in Australia. However, according to the Hays survey, of those employers who do offer teleworking, only 2.9 percent are prepared to recruit people from a broader geographical area as a result, although 51.2 percent will consider widening their search base for certain roles.
“It is not just businesses that are supporting teleworking,” says Adam Shapley, regional director of Hays Facilities Management. “The attitudes of candidates towards teleworking also continue to change, with almost one quarter (23.5 percent) indicating they would not work for an organisation that didn’t allow at least occasional teleworking.”
However, while technology is aiding a more flexible way to work, it may also be eating into our personal time. According to Hays’ survey, four in 10 employees (39 percent) believe their use of portable technology for work eats into their personal life.
“It seems that portable technology, such as smartphones, phablets and iPads, is eating into the boundaries between work and home,” says Shapley. “Today’s adoption of new technology means it is not just senior staff but employees at all levels who experienced this blurring of work and home life.
“The question this poses for employers is what employees expect in return. If the use of technology for work purposes in personal time is becoming more accepted, and wi-fi and wireless devices are available in most locations, even on holidays, then employers need to ensure their staff achieve work/life balance in other ways.
“This includes flexible hours in the office, time at work to access social media sites, or the ability to use work equipment for personal reasons. Employers need to address these issues and create a policy that works for them and their staff.”
The white paper can be downloaded here.

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