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National Telework Week is urging Australian businesses to consider adopting more flexible working arrangements, with a new survey showing workers in major cities are losing up to 12.5 days annually travelling to and from work.

In fact Sydneysiders, who suffer the longest average travel times of 70 minutes daily, now have comparable commute times to workers in New York (74 minutes), Paris (72 minutes), Los Angeles (67 minutes) and Tokyo (76 minutes).

Around the country, NSW workers recorded the longest national daily commute – with the typical employee travelling for an average 64 minutes. However workers in all states recorded lengthy figures with Victorian workers commuting for 55 minutes daily and Queensland employees driving for 50 minutes. 

Even Tasmanians, who recorded the lowest travel time of 40 minutes daily, spent over a week commuting to and from work annually. Rizvi says that on top of being unproductive, international research is beginning to show a direct link between long commuting times and a range of health factors including increased stress, exhaustion and employee absenteeism.

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“Research from around the world shows the adverse affects that elongated commutes can have on employees. In fact new research from Sweden shows that workers who travel between 30-60 minutes daily have significantly higher levels of sleep deprivation and exhaustion. While for many workers the daily commute is a way of life, there are avenues that businesses can take to reduce this burden,” says Rizvi. 

Rizvi says National Telework Week, an upcoming initiative to help increase the number of Australians engaged in telework from 6% to 12% by 2020, has been developed to help businesses and workers realise the benefits which can result from blending flexible working practices into workplace policies.

“The rollout of the National Broadband Network will enable more people to telework, providing reliable high speed data transfer and more opportunities for collaboration,” says Rizvi. “Telework is becoming a much more economically viable and productive option for both employers and employees.”

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

 

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