A study by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) reveals that half of Australia’s working population are now mobile. These ‘digital workers’ use the internet to work from home or on the road.
As of May 2013, there were 5.6 million adults who used the internet to work on the go outside ‘working hours’, or to work from home rather than coming into the office.
Key findings of the study revealed that almost three million people worked away from the office at least two days a week; 4.6 million worked from home when outside of the office; organisations with 20 to 199 employees were more likely than small business to allow employees to work from home, with the percentage increasing to 55%; and the major benefits of working from home were increased flexibility (55%) and more opportunities to get work done (30%).
ACMA communications analysis manager Joseph Di Gregorio points out that Australians are doing more online, be it commerce, entertainment or interacting with businesses and government, so working is just becoming part of that story.
He adds that the majority of digital workers at the moment come from industries where employees have long needed to be mobile. The internet in many ways is actually just keeping them in better touch with their resources and improving their productivity.
The emergence of new workforce management technologies has made it much easier for organisations to implement flexible working practices, allowing them to keep track of employees’ working hours regardless of whether they are in the office, working from home or out on the road, advises Jamie Fitzsimons, Marketing Manager at Mitrefinch Workforce Management.
According to Mr Fitzsimons, these time and attendance tools are enabling employees to complete a range of tasks from registering attendance and checking previous hours worked and schedules to viewing annual leave balances, requesting leave and explaining absences direct from their PC, laptop or smartphone. This provides managers with a real-time snapshot and better visibility of the activities of their workforce at any point in time.