Despite advancements in technology, flexible working is still a privilege enjoyed by a lucky few and Australian businesses need to revisit the move towards flexible working arrangements, according to Citrix.
In the company’s State of the Flexible Nation whitepaper, it found that Australian businesses are still being held back by a failure to embrace mobility technologies and this out-dated perspective of work as a place, not an activity, is potentially costing the Australian economy billions of dollars every year.
The research was conducted by Galaxy and surveyed 1024 office workers across Australia to better understand the true state of our flexible working environment.
The survey highlighted 56 per cent of Australians are currently unable to work from home, but 72 per cent want the opportunity. In addition, 45 per cent of workers don’t have the ability to access their work emails from home, while 66 per cent can’t access work files remotely and 64 per cent said they do not have telephone conference facilities.
Citrix Asia-Pacific mobility apps regional director, Lindsay Brown, said the harsh reality is that the majority of organisations do not trust their employees to be as productive at home as they do in the office, even though the economic and social benefits offers a compelling argument that can no longer be ignored.
“We know that giving workers more flexibility to carry out their roles makes them happier, more productive and more loyal to their employer, while having the potential to contribute billions to the Australian economy, yet we’re still a long way from reaching this tipping point,” he said.
Brown also indicated not only could Australia stand to save up to $108.7 million per week in travelling costs, the majority of workers would save some of their 51.4 minutes per day commuting time working.
“With 82 million hours a week currently spent commuting, companies that embrace flexible working stand to gain a significant boost in productivity and performance.”
He also highlighted that flexible working can help claw back some of the economic and healthcare burdens of Australia’s ageing population by unlocking the productivity potential of older workers.
“Seventy-three per cent of people aged 55 to 69 would work more hours and stay in the workforce longer if flexible options were available. This could add an additional 2.1 million potential work years to the national productivity resource equating to $134.8 billion or 1.3 per cent of Australian GDP,” he said.
Brown claimed Australia’s increasingly knowledge-based economy needs to keep modernising to compete with other progressive countries.
“Technologies which support flexible working are already available and well established, from document sharing applications to teleconferencing software, tablets and smartphones. The benefits of flexible working are clear, for employees, businesses and the economy as a whole,” he added.