Wednesday, 22 March 2017 11:40

Australia tops the charts for flexibility at work

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Australia tops the charts for flexibility at work Image courtesy of AMBRO at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Australia is one of the world’s most flexible countries to work in with 90% of Aussie companies now offering flexible working benefits, according to a new study which shows that being able to work from anywhere boosts employee productivity.

According to the global study by unified communication and collaboration provider Polycom, almost two-thirds, (62%) of the global working population take advantage of flexible working practices, but this rises to 75% for Australians.

And, Polycom says being able to work from anywhere is believed to boost performance, with 98% of all respondents believing that it has a positive impact on productivity.

To overcome the tyranny of distance, the study revealed that 79% of Australians use video collaboration technology multiple times a week in the workplace to stay in touch – while just over half (51%) of Australians said that using video regularly also influences them to pick up the phone instead of emailing more often.  

Tony Simonsen, managing director, Polycom Australia and New Zealand, says the results of the study suggest that flexible workplace success is about providing the right environment that allows individuals and teams to work together productively to deliver great results.

“With the build of high-speed broadband networks, technology can now give people the freedom to work the way they want, regardless of where they are,” he said.

“In today’s technology-enabled workplace, flexible working is becoming business-normal; employees expect it and employers need to provide flexible working policies to attract and retain their best talent.

“Regardless of whether you are working in Australia or China, a millennial or baby boomer, the findings show that people have the same expectations when it comes to flexible working – they want location liberation, the ability to work and collaborate in a very human way that gets the job done.”

The study also reveals that millennials are concerned about being recognised as hard-working, while remote based workers use video technology to stay socially connected.

“Surprisingly, it was technology-savvy millennials who were most concerned about the correlation between being physically present at work and being recognised as getting the job done,” Simonsen notes.

According to the study, globally, approximately 62% of millennials (18-30 year olds) were concerned that they would not be perceived as hard-working if they were not in the office and findings also showed that having face time with colleagues over video helped maintain important social interaction that can sometimes be lacking for remote-based workers.  

And, an overwhelming 91% of global respondents said video collaboration helped them get to know their co-workers better.

Simonsen cites a Committee for the Economic Development of Australia’s (CEDA) recent "Future of Work" report showing that more than 40% of today’s jobs will disappear within the next 20 years due to technology advances.

The report found that there would be new jobs and industries that emerge, but cautioned that if Australia is not investing in the right areas it will get left behind and noted that the Australian labour market will be fundamentally reshaped by the scope and breadth of technological change.

And if Australia does not embrace massive economic reform and focus on incentivising innovation, it will be left behind in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year 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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