Home is Where the Work is - Study
21 October 2013 at 10:10 am
About 5.6 million Australians – more than half of the Australian workforce – used the internet to work away from the office, according to research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Home is where the work is – ACMA research into “digital workers” was a snapshot taken from two surveys commissioned by the ACMA in May 2013 that covered 2,400 household consumers aged over 18 years and 1,500 small and medium enterprises.
The research found that digital workers, which are Australians using the internet to work away from the office outside “standard working hours” and “teleworkers” who are allowed to work away from the office, substituting coming into the office for part or all of the day, made up 51 per cent of the total number of employed Australians.
And more than half said there were no negatives associated from working away from the office.
According to the research, digital workers spent a significant amount of time using the internet to work away from the office with 2.8 million (49 per cent) working away at least two days a week and 863,000 (15 per cent) one day a week and about two million (35 per cent) less than one day a week.
It also recorded that home was the main place of work for digital workers outside the office with 4.6 million (82 per cent of all digital workers) working from home and 1.6 million (28 per cent of digital workers) worked while travelling, including commuting.
The research also showed that 26 per cent of small and medium enterprises with digital workers had between 81 and 100 per cent of their staff working away from the office at least one day a week.
And 39 per cent of small and medium enterprises allowed staff to work away from the office at least one day a week, with 55 per cent medium-sized business and 38 per cent for small business.
In the communication service sector, 67 per cent of SMEs allowed staff to work away from the office at least once a week – the highest percentage out of all industry sectors.
The wholesale trade was next with 52 per cent, followed by the property and business services sectors at 47 per cent.
- Out of the 95 per cent of digital workers that found benefit from working away from the office, flexibility (55 per cent), the opportunity to get more work done (30 per cent), and access to home comforts (26 per cent) were considered the top benefits.
- More than half said there were no negatives associated from working away from the office however, 24 per cent of digital workers reported reduced access to communications and 20 per cent said they had reduced access to colleagues.
For SMEs, 45 per cent with digital workers reported that having staff work away from the office was essential to the nature of the business and 38 per cent said these arrangements provided greater flexibility.
And 87 per cent of SMEs that did not allow employees to regularly work away from the office said this practice did not suit their businesses.
In terms of devices, research showed 68 per cent of digital workers used their own laptop or one provided by their employer to work away from the office.
Other devices included smartphones (33 per cent) and tablets (21 per cent) and PC (30 per cent).