[LINK] Work from home and help keep transport gridlock at bay

David Boxall david.boxall at hunterlink.net.au
Mon Oct 10 10:08:53 AEDT 2011

I wonder; to what extent will/can telecommuting substitute for 
traditional commuting?
Jacob Saulwick
October 10, 2011
THE state government's infrastructure adviser has said planning for the 
future of Sydney's transport system should factor in the increasing 
number of people who will want to work from home rather than head to the 

And on the evidence so far, there is a trend here, although the numbers 
remain small.

A study by the NSW Bureau of Transport Statistics shows that in 2009 
about 7.5 per cent of workers who usually travelled to work spent some 
days working from home as part of an arrangement with their employer.
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The percentage, which equates to about 172,000 workers out of a total 
pool of about 2.3 million, was up from 5.8 per cent (120,000 workers) in 
2005 and 3.8 per cent (72,000 workers) in 2001.

But ''teleworking'', as it is called, is not a universal trend; it 
remains a time-management tool used by a particular type of worker.

The bureau's study, presented in a paper last month to the Australasian 
Transport Research Forum, shows that male workers are more likely to be 
teleworkers than female.

Teleworkers are usually aged between 30 and 50, and often are part of a 
couple with children. They have higher average incomes - almost 70 per 
cent of teleworkers earn more than $60,000 a year - and about five in 
every six teleworkers are classified as managers, professionals and 

Jon Dee, one of 20 Australians selected to ''champion'' the national 
broadband network, admits to a bias in promoting the cause of teleworking.

But, as the managing director of the environmental not-for-profit Do 
Something!, he also perfectly matches the profile of the modern teleworker.

The average distance Sydneysiders travel from home to work was 15.6 
kilometres, the study found. Teleworkers typically had a longer commute, 
recording an average 19.7 kilometre journey.

''I live in north Katoomba and for me every day that I don't come down 
here [Do Something!'s office in Newtown], I'm saving a 200 kilometre 
trip,'' said Mr Dee, who makes the journey into the office only a couple 
of times a week.

Julie Reeves, an event manager for an international finance house, said 
avoiding the trip from her home in Alexandria to the city was a pleasant 
side effect but not the main reason she now works from home on Mondays.

Ms Reeves, 25, said her employer had encouraged staff to take up 
flexible hours across its global offices. ''It's a new arrangement. I've 
been doing it for about six to eight weeks now,'' she said.

Part of the benefit for the company is that it saves on office space. 
''You can have people sharing work stations and what not … but I would 
say the main driver of doing it is employee satisfaction and morale.''

Paul Broad, the inaugural chief executive of Infrastructure NSW, is in 
the midst of drawing up a 20-year infrastructure plan. He said in July 
that he thought there would be a rapid rise in employees avoiding 
traditional work spaces.

''If you paint a picture 20 years from now, you and I won't be coming to 
work at 8 o'clock in the morning,'' Mr Broad said.

''That will be seen as prehistoric … We will be far more flexible in how 
we come to work, and we come to work to meet people, to interact with 
people, and do a lot of the other work you would do either at home or in 
a community environment somewhere closer to home.''

David Boxall                    |  When a distinguished but elderly
                                |  scientist states that something is
http://david.boxall.id.au       |  possible, he is almost certainly
                                |  right. When he states that
                                |  something is impossible, he is
                                |  very probably wrong.
                                                  --Arthur C. Clarke

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