Empty offices as 51% work from home

Empty offices as 51% work from home

Smaller businesses are often lauded for their nimbleness but when it comes to working from home Australia’s larger businesses offer more flexibility, according to the media watchdog.

More than half (55%) of medium-sized businesses – with between 20 and 199 employees – allow their staff to work away from the office at least one day a week.

Just 38% of businesses with 19 employees or less let employees leave the office to complete work, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found.

The communication service sector proved the most flexible of SMEs when it comes to work locations with just under 67% allowing staff to work away from office at least one day a week.

Overall 51%, or an estimated 5.6 million, of employed Australians 18 and over were ‘digital workers’ in May this year.

The figure jumped to 59% for employed persons aged between 35 and 44 and 70% for those with a university qualification.

The ACMA defines a ‘digital worker’ as people who use the internet to work away from the office outside of standard business hours and teleworkers who work from home for part or all of the day.

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Of those permitted to work from home, 95% reported a benefit. For 55% it was greater flexibility, 30% reported the ability to get more work done and 26% liked access to home comforts.

More than half (53%) said there were no downsides associated with working away from the office. Among those who noted negatives 24% said they had reduced access to communications and 20% said it was harder to access colleagues.

The data above was taken from two surveys commissioned by ACMA in May, including a survey of 2,400 household consumers aged 18 and over and another of 1,500 SMEs.

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