New South Wales realises the benefits of working from home

Australia’s most populous state could be moving to a combination of workers sharing their weekdays between the office and home.

video conferencing / remote work
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The increase of people working from home in a short period of time, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, has raised questions about workers productivity, work-life balance, and the time and cost of commuting. Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 saw 46% of New South Wales workers work from home by May 2020, up from 8% in 2016.

With better technology services and hardware, not only available but accessible to many workers, more New South Wales workers are equipped to work from home if they have an internet connection. The New South Wales Innovation and Productivity Council has released the NSW Remote Working report in an attempt to understand the effects on business of working from home. The council interviewed 1,500 New South Wales workers during August and September 2020.

Working onsite has long been favoured by businesses

The report found that many Australians have used telecommunications technology every day at work, but until recently most had to travel to the workplace to access these technologies. This has maintained concentration in some areas such as the Sydney central business district (CBD), which, according to the report, are tried and tested areas for collaboration and innovation. “Businesses and institutions that colocate in clusters or innovation precincts can gain real economic opportunities from collaborating and sharing knowledge and resources in cost-effective ways,” stated the report, citing 2018 data.

Although remote-work technology has long been available, it took the COVID-19 pandemic to accelerate and accept working from home as an option. Before 2020, New South Wales was using less than half of its potential to work remotely. The report estimated that while 44% of all work tasks in the NSW economy can be done remotely, only 18% were done remotely in 2019.

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