In the lead up to National Telework Week, Cisco Australia conducted an employee survey to better understand the role of teleworking in the working lives of its employees.
While teleworking is widely recognised as delivering a range of positive benefits to organisations, employees and wider society, at its most basic level the most significant return on investment is to individuals.
When asked to identify the positive benefits of teleworking, the most popular response by Cisco employees, at 87%, was better quality of life. This was closely followed by a reduced commute (82%) and a more flexible work schedule (81%).
Tim Fawcett, general manager of Cisco Government Affairs and Policy said, “I think its hugely significant that with the right strategy and some dedicated planning and resources, employers can offer their staff an effective teleworking program that improves their quality of life. While teleworking can improve productivity, reduce carbon emissions, traffic congestion and enable staff to spend more time on the job rather than commuting, it’s easy to forget that at its simplest level, teleworking can make employees’ lives better.
“Our results show that 82% of respondents found working from home was important to delivering greater flexibility in work schedule and a better work-life balance.”
The results also showed that when Cisco’s teleworking program is at its optimum, staff are saving an average of almost 3 hours a week in commuting time, equating to over 17 (eight hour) working days a year. Those staff teleworking that would otherwise be driving are saving an average combined journey of over 115 km per week, or a massive 5,500kms (in a 48 week working year).
Local neighbourhood connectivity however remains an issue for some, as 43% of respondents indicated quality of Internet connectivity in their neighbourhood influenced their ability to telework.
“As the rollout of the NBN continues, local connectivity will become less of a barrier, not just for our staff but for the whole of Australia,” says Fawcett.
“We’ve found that for our customers, internal processes and cultural perceptions are the most significant barriers. The technologies that facilitate teleworking are readily available and cost-effective. The biggest challenge is increasing the acceptance of teleworking in the workplace and to demonstrate that with the right practices in place that you can still manage and drive work output while working remotely.”
For many Cisco workers their productivity while teleworking increases. 68% of respondents to the Cisco survey said a key benefit to teleworking was greater productivity. This is in line with figures from the US where 71% of organisations participating in Telework Week saw an increase in productivity.