National Telework Week kicks off to address workforce challenges

National Telework Week kicks off today, with organisers of the initiative calling on Australian employers commencing 2014 workforce planning to consider telework as a viable and effective workforce planning strategy to increase productivity and reduce costs.

National Telework Week kicks off today, with organisers of the initiative calling on Australian employers commencing 2014 workforce planning to consider telework as a viable and effective workforce planning strategy to increase productivity and reduce costs.

While many businesses have been sceptical towards teleworkers, a recent report from the 2013 Trans-Tasman Telework Survey commissioned by Cisco Systems revealed teleworkers are up to 12 per cent more productive than traditional office workers. Additionally, a study by Randstad revealed one quarter of Australian businesses view workforce performance and productivity as the number one human capital challenge. 

With National Telework Week running from November 18-22 2013, Abul Rizvi, Deputy Secretary, Department of Communications, says employers need to recognise the benefits of telework in the search for a more flexible, productive and cost-effective workforce. 

“Employees who can use technology to work from anywhere will become more important for businesses and government agencies,” Rizvi said. “Employers should begin planning for a more flexible workforce and identify the opportunities teleworking can have for their bottom line. If they’re willing to adopt effective teleworking policies now, they will be able to reap the benefits.” 

A recent Deloitte Access Economics report, commissioned by Google Australia, also found employers with flexible IT policies such as telework, could save as much as 39 per cent of their staff attrition costs. In addition, employers can recruit staff with desirable skills and experience independent of where they live, and reduce the costs of office accommodation. 

“Teleworking can open up doors for people to return to the workforce who have the necessary skills but are unable to commit to what have been up to now traditional patterns of work,” Rizvi said. 

Further figures of note from the Deloitte research include:

• 74 per cent of people with carer responsibilities not in the workforce would take up telework if it was available to them.
• 66 per cent of people with a disability not in the workforce would take up telework if it was available to them.
• 70 per cent of people in rural and regional Australia not in the workforce would take up telework if it was available to them.
• 60 per cent of mature aged workers would delay retirement by 6.6 years if they could telework.

Based on these results, telework could add the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs, with 10,000 of these jobs in regional Australia, helping to grow annual GDP by $3.2 billion by 2020-215.

Business owners can download the National Telework Kit here and learn more about the benefits of teleworking and how to implement effective policies. Further information, including National Telework Week 2013 events, can be found at www.telework.gov.au

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