December 29, 2016

Telecommuting and the Australian “at home” workforce.

“Almost half of Australia’s IT workers would take a pay cut if they could work from home. And around two in five would also take lower pay in return for flexible working hours, extra holidays or a better office location.”

That is quite a quote!

Have you ever thought about working from home?  Have you had to sit at your desk and think “I could easily be doing this from the comfort of my own home”

Well you are definitely not alone in that thought – a survey conducted by Robert Half Technology earlier this year is reporting that “while most IT workers felt they were currently underpaid 48 per cent would be prepared to accept even less for the right conditions.”

Mr Chapman said that IT careers were obvious candidates for teleworking and flexible arrangements but said that there was still a reticence among employers, concerned about productivity impacts.

“We are advocating employers give it a try with well defined contracts.”

So what does this really mean for business and working within Australia?

  1. The talent pool expands for employers. Sometimes you may not find what you want in your city! You also are opening options for carers but those who have difficulty travelling because they are disabled or live in remote locations. Telecommuting removes these barriers.
  2. Working remotely can reduce the amount of cars on our roads, and if you live in one of our capital cities, you will love this! If each employer allows employees to work from home 1 day a fortnight, then think of how many cars will be removed from the roads on any given day!
  3. If you are a small business owner, think of the savings of not having to rent a large office to run your business. You could rent a smaller office and have people working from home and office on a rotating roster. This way, everyone gets a chance to work from home, and then everyone gets a chance to be in the office and to feel a part of the team.
    This also allows a huge reduction in the cost of electricity, lighting, air conditioning and heating – that is a big carbon reduction.
  4. Online tools such as Skype, Go2Meetings, Webcam, Chat programs and cloud computing allows contact with remote working employees at a very low price.
    There is no need to have expensive interstate mobile phone plans!
    Working from home can be a little isolating for some people, so being able to talk and see people via a webcam can really help people deal with any isolating feelings. Make time to schedule in speaking to your manager daily – make some face time!
  5. You’ll save time, and reduce stress, by getting out of traffic and having a little peace and quiet. The rising cost of public transport and petrol can be a real issue for people today. Time savings are huge – knowing you can be home when you children are home from school and that you can safely see them off to school in the mornings.

Working from home or flexible working conditions really comes down to people working with people. You need to have trust from your employer but you also need to have responsibility. Not having someone watch over your shoulder while you complete work may be a new experience for you, but you have to still achieve the same goals and have measurable guidelines so that you can work from home and still be an excellent employee.

Make sure you are still part of the team with regular routine webcam catch ups with the team, set it up so Friday you can all have a debrief of the weeks events, have a few laughs and just generally joke around before the weekend. Monday should also include a team meeting to discuss the weekly schedule, what is expected and what is going to be achieved. Include everyone via webcam or office link ups!

The best way to get started is to set up trial period for people interested and your boss, and this may only be one day a week for a month. Make sure you have the set up before you start, so have your skype account, your webcam and access to your work email. In this time you have to push yourself. You will be surprised how much work you can do in a quiet and comfortable environment! You will also be able to assess whether this is something you want to or if you would prefer to stay within the office environment.

The Washington Post has a great article from September about the benefits and negatives of working from home and is it really greener – Environmental benefits of telecommuting are not universal and really we should take this on board

“If you really want to help the Earth and you’re not just looking for an excuse to watch “Judge Judy” when you should be working, all of this points to one simple answer: Abandon your car first, then worry about whether you’d rather take the bus or stay home.”

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