Friday, 03 April 2020 03:19

COVID-19: Productivity holds up working from home or office, say Australians Featured


More than two-thirds (70%) of Australian workers believe their productivity is the same or higher when working from home compared to an office environment, with many of them believing that this new form of working will become much more important when emerging from coronavirus than before.

According to new research by global software company Citrix together with independent research institute OnePoll, before current coronavirus prevention measures, Australia’s work-from-home arrangements were right in the middle when compared to the other countries surveyed, when it came to home office adoption.

The research also reveals that Australian workers see the greatest advantage of working from home in the fact that they can make use of the time they would otherwise spend commuting.

Almost half (49%) of Ausralians said they use this time to be more productive while another 38% claimed that they use it to spend more time with their family and/or on leisure activities - and 36% of office workers reporting the removal of the office commute has also resulted in less stress during the work day, with the lack of traffic jams and overcrowded or delayed trains.

The survey found that 34% of surveyed workers worked from home at least once a week and in the United Kingdom and Germany these figures were higher at 45 and 43% - and in contrast, only 26% and 22% of French and Italian workers worked regularly from home before the crisis.

Citrix says that in terms of the general conditions for the working from home environment, Australian workers match their international counterparts, with 54% of those surveyed stating they had a dedicated home office space or a study, with 30% of workers admitting they were working from the kitchen or dining table.

“The distinction between work and leisure time also works relatively well,” says Citrix, revealing that 43% of Australian respondents said that they work about the same time at home as in the office, with 38% working longer hours, while 19% work less - although 70% think that their productivity at home is the same or even higher than in the office.

In order to raise productivity, respondents cited a separate workspace (51%) and more opportunities to interact with colleagues (31%) as the most important factors.

“While, of course, an employer has no influence on the spatial situation at home, it can provide employees with modern technologies and thus promote communication and – for example through single sign-on solutions or digital workspaces – productivity. After all, 25% of those surveyed see such technologies as a prerequisite for greater productivity,” observes Citrix.

“However, the technical infrastructure of many companies is apparently not yet equipped for the increased number of employees working remotely or from home: More than half (51%) of those surveyed stated that they use apps for business purposes that they otherwise only use privately – such as WhatsApp or similar data exchange services. However, such applications do not meet the security standards required for business-critical data, which is why companies are better advised to deploy suitable technologies in secure environments themselves,” Citrix said

"As employers, we have to provide our employees with the necessary technological equipment at their home desk or kitchen table," says Keith Buckley, Citrix’s Managing Director and Area Vice President, Australia and New Zealand.

"I am convinced that working from home will become an integral part of the Australian work culture in the future, instead of being an individual solution, as it has recently been the case in many industries and companies.

“And the current situation shows an appetite, and proven success, for more flexible working from home arrangements. Every office worker who is currently able to work at home is not only doing their job, but is also supporting society as a whole and helping us to put this crisis behind us as quickly and as effectively as possible." concluded Buckley.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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