Did you know that National Telework Week occurred on the 18-22 of November to raise awareness of the benefits of telework will take place? Sadly, most of you reading this may not even know what telework is, even if you are teleworkers yourself. Teleworking is the name given to working from home, simple as that! The benefits of telework are astounding - from reduced stress resulting from not having to sit in horrible Sydney traffic to commute to the office, to a better work/life balance and, in some cases, more time with your family. Like the sound of these benefits? You should give teleworking a try!
Teleworking is already on the rise but
with the implementation of the new National Broadband Network (NBN) it will
only increase in popularity. Technological innovation, such as the NBN, only
makes teleworking easier as it increases quick and seamless communication with
the office when teleworking from home. Stephen Conroy, former Minister of
Broadband and Communications, stated that, “the delivery of reliable high speed
broadband to every Australian premise will potentially revolutionise how we
will work”. But could this ease also come at a cost to the employee?
According to a University of Melbourne study,
employees may be more productive when teleworking but may overcompensate by
working approximately three hours more than the traditional worker. So is a
person choosing telework to reduce travel time, only to increase work hours? As
the teleworking website suggests, there is also the worry of isolation, both
social and professional. Support and continuous communication from management,
workers and family are essential to overcome social isolation. However, will
the company forget about including the teleworker, will you miss your
promotion, or lose your networking connections? These all need to be
Companies are giving mixed opinions on
this seamless integration between work, leisure and home-life. Yahoo and
Google, who are at the forefront of technology assisting with telework,
ironically disagree with employees working away from the office. As Google’s
CFO Patrick Pichette minimises teleworkers in the company stating that the
“magical moments” of eating, employee chatter and time with coworkers are lost. Opposing this view is Cisco Australia
with approximately 90 percent of their global employee’s teleworking one or
more days a week. “Our workers who work outside the office are consistently
more engaged, more productive happier [and] have a higher sense of well being
than traditional bricks and mortar workers”, says Tim Fawcett, Cisco’s general
manager of government affairs and policy. Who wouldn’t want that?
We believe that teleworking attitudes
have been ingrained into our generation since we started school. In order to
achieve what we wanted we had to be willing to work from home. In high school
and primary school we had homework… Now, at university if we
want desirable grades, a lot of time and effort need to be put in at home
outside of the classroom. Prominent universities such as the University of
Sydney, Charles Sturt University and Macquarie University, to name a few, offer
and support telework in their institutions through online education; a person
can complete their whole degree without setting foot in a classroom. With these
attitudes and values entrenched in our everyday lives, it wouldn't be
surprising if Generation Y would expect the opportunity to telework when they
hit the workforce.
This poses the question: is teleworking
best suited to specific sectors or workplaces? Is teleworking suited to you?
The best way to find out is to find our more by visiting telework.gov.au and gather your own
Anderson and Briana Tabone: Current students at the University of Sydney Business School.