National Telework Week, a Federal Government initiative to encourage businesses, not-for-profits and government agencies to get on board, is drawing to a close, but it is attracting strong backing from major companies.
The latest is Cloud, collaboration, networking and virtualisation vendor, Citrix, which is backing the teleworking drive by providing individuals and teams of up to 10 people with free, 30-day product trials for Citrix GoToMeeting, Citrix GoToMyPC, Citrix GoToAssist and Citrix Podio.
In its recent Citrix Workplace of the Future report, it indicated that, by 2013, 93 per cent of organisations will offer a flexible work policy, while by 2020 over one-third of Australians will no longer work in a traditional office.
Citrix Asia-Pacific online services division sales and service vice-president and managing director, H.R. Shiever, said teleworking is going to bring great benefits to the Australian marketplace.
“Over the past decade, the productivity growth in Australia has plateaued, and we’re now in a position where with the NBN and other new technologies, businesses can take advantage of it to drive increased productivity and access workers outside of the traditional cities,” he said.
Shiever also said in addition to reducing the commute time for people – 12 days a year – it will also offer them better work life balance.
With the increased penetration of smartphones and tablets into the market, he expects the adoption of telework to grow drastically over the coming years.
“Now with these government initiatives, the NBN, and other things such as the government’s pivot to Asia, all these things are going to leas Australia to look for new markets, broaden their base, and adopt telework to increase penetration.”
Shiever claimed that businesses should not let the challenge of having a traditional culture in the company and the fears of security issues hinder its move to teleworking.
“With Gen Y people entering the economy, they like to work in different ways and they are used to using different technologies. For companies to embrace this workforce, they are going to be forced into being able to handle more flexible working arrangements,” he said.
In encouraging telework, Shiever said businesses need to first set a clear set of policies.
He said they need to first do an analysis of what job functions are most aligned with teleworking. The business should also be clear about the telework benefits to the company.
“It’s not just about saving money – it’s also about a batter work life balance, making sure your employees are happier, making sure they understand what their roles and responsibilities are if they work outside the office or even outlining expectations and communicating better than in the past,” Shiever said.
The Australian Government expects to increase the current number of teleworkers (four per cent) to 12 per cent by 2020.