Telework is hardly new. But we all know it still isn’t what it could be. After all, many of our employers still don’t let us work out of our jammies, or from the nearest coffee shop.
In the circumstances, cloud computing might just be what the doctor ordered. Or so Australia believes as it launched a National Telework Week on Monday with what many might consider a very modest goal – doubling teleworkers in the country to 12% by 2020.
For comparison, consider a projection by Citrix, one of over 140 organisations participating in the National telework Week. The U.S. company famous for its remote collaboration software says 93% of global companies will offer flexible work to their employees. Recent research suggests the era of hotdesking is over and Australia is fast becoming a nation of notdeskers, or workshifters, Citrix says.
The cloud is not the only factor that has fueled recent optimism about teleworking in Australia. Analysts and government leaders believe a number of key pieces of the teleworking puzzle are falling into place, offering a new opportunity to seize the momentum.
Mobile technologies, for example, are witnessing robust growth. Australia has caught up with the smartphone revolution and sales of tablet computers grew 330% in 2011 to 1.4 million, according to Telsyte. Tablet sales are projected at 2 million this year, rising to 5 million in 2016.
“These forecasts tell a very compelling story and will mean that real-time collaboration services, such as video, audio, data and apps, are far more accessible and can help Australian workers stay in touch and work from wherever they are, hence driving higher and higher levels of productivity,” Senator Stephen Conroy, the minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, recently said.
Conroy, whose government has set out eight Digital Economy Goals, believes the opportunities offered by increased telework are exciting for both employers and employees, and can lead to benefits across the economy and community, and even the environment.
Government figures suggest workers in major cities spend up to 12.5 days annually traveling to and from work. Sydneysiders were the worst affected, spending an average 70 minutes per day on commutes. Among states, NSW was the worst with average traveling time of 64 minutes a day.
To spread more awareness of teleworking, the government has provided online calculators to quantify benefits. Employers can run some numbers here and employees can do the same here.
Citrix, maker of popular GoTo software, is additionally offering free month-long trials on four products. The trials are for GoToMeeting, GoToMyPC, GoToAssist and Podio, and are available to individuals and teams of up to 10 people for 30 days. Click here for a free trial.