Thursday, 04 April 2013 14:38

Teleworking benefits SMEs: survey

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More than half of Australia's SMEs employ one or more people who work remotely, and those that do are more likely to have seen their revenue rise.

A survey carried out by Colmar Brunton for MYOB found that 57% of SMEs have employees who work 'mainly away from the office' or 'partly from home and from the office'.

21% of SMEs with employees working remotely most or all of the time enjoyed increased revenue, compared with 17% of those where everyone works on the premises.

And 44% of the 'on premises' SMEs saw a fall in revenue, compared with 30% for those whose staff mostly telework.

Other benefits of teleworking reported include happier employees, reduced travel costs and increased productivity.

The technologies most commonly used to support teleworking include email, instant messaging and phone conferencing. Only 7% used VPNs, and videoconferencing - often spruiked as an important part of teleworking - was found in a mere 6% of SMEs where teleworking occurred.

Cloud computing - also regarded as a teleworking enabler - was used in just 11% of those businesses. That suggests a significant number of respondents do not regard email as a cloud service.

Teleworking is more common among medium sized businesses (despite being more commonplace among startups than established business), metro-based businesses and younger business operators.

78% of SMEs engaged in business, professional and property services have teleworking staff, compared with 35% in agribusiness, forestry and fishing.

A nationally representative sample of 1005 SMEs was surveyed.

Image: jnyemb via flickr.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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