The Federal Government has committed the Australian Public Service (APS) to achieving the goal of 12 per cent of APS employees regularly teleworking by 2020.
Prime MInister, Julia Gillard, announced the target at the launch of National Telework Week.
Telework, which is a big part of the future of work in Australia, is a flexible work arrangement where employees are able to work from home or other locations away from the office, using broadband and digital technology.
The APS commitment is in line with the Government’s National Digital Economy Strategy goal for telework.
To inform delivery of this goal, a select number of APS departments and agencies will conduct a series of telework trials commencing in the first half of next year.
The Prime Minister also released new research by Colmar Brunton and Deloitte Access Economics at the launch.
- 66 per cent of people with disabilities who are not in the labour force would take up telework if it was available to them.
- 74 per cent of people with family or carer responsibilities who are not in the labour force would take up telework if it was available to them.
- 60 per cent of people nearing retirement age would take up telework if it was available to them.
- 70 per cent of people living in regional/remote Australia who are not in the labour force would take up telework if it was available to them.
The research also found that by 2020-21 these participation impacts of telework alone could:
- Help grow annual GDP by $3.2 billion.
- Create the equivalent of an additional 25,000 full-time jobs, with 10,000 of these jobs in regional Australia.
Leading companies such as Cisco, Telstra, Westpac, Medibank Health Solutions, Microsoft and KPMG are already using telework to retain and attract skilled staff and make cost savings by reducing pressure on office accommodation.
The Government claims its investment in the National Broadband Network will give more employees and employers the confidence to engage in telework by delivering high-speed broadband to all Australian homes and businesses.
It said the NBN will help unlock the potential of telework to boost productivity in the workplace; reduce commuting time and urban congestion; and allow employers to compete for the best employees, no matter where they are located.
The inaugural National Telework Week runs from November 12-16. More than 130 companies and organisations have committed to the Week as official Telework Partners.