First things first. What exactly is teleworking, also known as telecommuting or remote working? It’s a work arrangement in which an employee doesn’t commute to a central place of work. The employee works from home or uses mobile technology to work from coffee shops or other locations.
Empowering employees to work outside the traditional confines of an office is increasingly prevalent as:
- businesses realise the bottom line benefits, and
- a wider range of cost-effective telework-enabling technologies enter the marketplace.
The trend will become even more commonplace due to the Federal Government driving toward its target of 1 in 8 Australian employees having a regular telework arrangement by 2020. This is only 7 years away. At MYOB we’ve reached this target already (2 percent of our workplace have a permanent arrangement and 40 percent have an ad-hoc arrangement), and there’s always room for improvement.
Now, you may be thinking ‘why would the government care?’ Well, it conducted research recently to explore how labour force participation may increase with the NBN rollout and the additional opportunities it will provide. Some key findings were:
- NBN-enabled telework may create 25,000 additional jobs in full-time equivalent terms by 2020-21, with approximately 10,000 of these in regional Australia.
- 60 percent of mature workers said they’d take up telework if it was available to them and as a result delay retirement by an average of 6.6 years – important given the ageing of the population and the impact this will have on overall workforce participation rates.
- 74 percent of the respondents with family or carer responsibilities who weren’t in the labour force said they’d take up a telework employment opportunity if one was available to them.
With productivity on everyone’s lips these days, encouraging teleworking is a no-brainer – it will assist us as an economy as much as it will assist our individual businesses.
MYOB recently surveyed more than 1,000 SMEs to find 57 percent of SMEs have employees who work for their business from a location other than their business premises. One in four (25 percent) have employees who work ‘mainly away from the office’ and one in three (32 percent) have employees who work ‘partly from home and from the office’.
We found that the business operators whose employees worked mainly away from the business premises were 24 percent more likely to see a revenue rise in the past year! Further, they were 32 percent less likely to see a revenue fall. Now that is worth thinking about.
In their own words, these were the top benefits:
|Business benefits of teleworking technologies|
|Employees are happier||31 percent|
|Travel costs have been reduced||28 percent|
|Employees are more productive||27 percent|
|I can hire employees living in any location/s||17 percent|
|IT costs have been reduced||16 percent|
|Overall IT performance has been improved||15 percent|
|Business manager(s) is/are happier||13 percent|
|My business’s carbon footprint has been reduced||12 percent|
|Premises rental costs have been reduced||11 percent|
|The number of employee sick days has dropped||10 percent|
|I can attract higher quality staff||10 percent|
|IT issues have been reduced||9 percent|
Any thoughts on how you can incorporate teleworking into your business? Or perhaps you already do – do you have any tips for those considering it?