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WE LOVE WORKING FROM HOME Featured
28 June 2020 Posted by 

WE LOVE WORKING FROM HOME

Staggering 86% want to make it permanent
DALLAS SHERRINGHAM
THE Covid -19 pandemic lockdown has had an unexpected benefit for Western Sydney workers – they got to work from home and a staggering 86% now want to make it permanent.
It was like a dream come true for thousands of nine to fivers when the Federal and State Governments suddenly called for instant action on Covid - 19 and told us to bunker down for several months.
 
No more commuting, office politics, nosey bosses or dressing up every day. True, many of us had to arrange for the kids to do their schoolwork on the computer at 9am every day, but we had the chance to spend precious time as a family all week long – and we loved it.
 
This means the Aussie workplace might now change permanently, new research suggests. A survey of people who have been working from home during the pandemic has found that 86% want to continue doing so, at least part-time – even once their workplaces resume ‘normal’ operations. 
 
What is more, 73% believe their employers would be open to it and 22% have already been offered a work-from-home option.
 
The findings come from an independent survey of a nationally representative panel of 1000 Australian employees who have been working from home – full-time or part-time – during the pandemic. It was commissioned by digital event specialist Redback Connect (redbackconnect.com.au). 
 
Redback Connect found that, after social restrictions are lifted, 28% of respondents want to work from home full-time and permanently, 39% want to work from home one-to-two days a week and 20% want to work from home three-to-four days a week.
 
 Almost three-quarters of respondents believe their employer would be open to them working from home – backed by the findings that 22% say their manager has already offered such an option, while 56% say they will ask their managers to arrange the option. 
 
We are a brave workforce, with just 14% saying they are too afraid to ask their managers to allow them to work from home and 8% have had their work-from-home request rejected by their employer.
 
The younger the employee, the less courage they have to ask their employer to make permanent working from home arrangements. Almost a quarter of respondents aged 18 to 30 admit they are too afraid to ask their manager to make such arrangements, compared with 14% of 31-50s and just 6% of over-51s. 
 
Interestingly, it also seems younger employees are less likely to have been offered a permanent working-from-home arrangement, or, if they have asked for one, it has been declined.
 
In fact, just 15% of respondents aged 18 to 30 have already been offered a work-from-home option, compared with 21% of employees aged 31-50, and 30% of employees older than 51. 
 
One Way Traffic
 
However it is not all one way traffic when it comes to benefits. Business owners also have major benefits including the chance to reduce costs such as power, computers, stationary, illness and even decrease their office footprint which means less rent.
 
Workers are more content and achieve more at home according to surveys.
 
So, how can we work from home productively?
 
The last couple of months of home-based working have also shed light on what digital and virtual meeting tools are needed to increase productivity. In fact, 50% of respondents say working from home would not result in a fall in productivity if they had the right digital tools. A third say with the right technology, their organisation would increase its productivity.
 
When asked about what digital capabilities can help maximise at-home productivity, 55% of respondents say tools that enable them to have virtual meetings or webinars with multiple attendees. The same proportion say tools that allow them to share and edit documents, projects or work schedules with team members in real-time.
 
Nearly half of respondents believe they need to able to see the ‘availability’ of other team members remotely, while 45% say they want the ability to share work-in-progress schedules and status reports with other team members. Almost half say they need to present work to stakeholders in the same way as in an in-person meeting. 
 
CEO and Founder at Redback Connect Jeff Down said the survey results showed that, after the pandemic, Aussie workers want workplaces to change permanently
 
“Many people have discovered just how much work they can achieve while working at home – especially if they have the right digital resources. If employers listen to their employees, we may see a decentralisation of the workforce from the cities to the suburbs. 
 
“While simple video and teleconference communications have been used being widely by many organisations during the shutdown, if working from home becomes permanent, organisations will need to onboard a suite of remote-working digital tools to replicate, as far as possible, the ‘in-office’ experience.
 
“Our research reveals that more purpose-specific virtual technologies that offer a broader range of secure, interactive platform features – such as online polling and live Q&As – would help maximise the productivity of at-home offices. 
 
“Redback Connect offers fully-managed webinars, for example, which enable organisations to engage large, dispersed audiences in real-time with interactive polls, live chats, or Q&As.
 
“Town Halls and studio broadcasts are also ideal for those who need to present to company executives and stakeholders in the same way they would an in-person meeting – another digital capability our data reveals employees feel they need.”


editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.