AHRI has released the findings of its anytime-anywhere work member survey, with around two-thirds of respondents identifying difficulties communicating with colleagues as the main shortcoming of working outside central work locations.
Other drawbacks connected with anytime-anywhere work are loneliness and isolation, and difficulty with communication technologies.
The findings are contained in an AHRI report of a survey conducted with 379 members of the institute earlier this year.
The report also included the following findings:
- Around half the respondents (179) report their organisation has a policy covering flexible work practices.
- More than nine out of 10 of that sample report that the policies include work health and safety issues in the home (96 per cent) and more than half report policies relating to working hours (55 per cent).
- Nearly three quarters of respondents report training in flexible work for employees (74 per cent) is not covered in their organisation, and 70 per cent report training is not covered for managers.
- Around a fifth of respondents do not expect the national broadband network (NBN) will see improvements in computer speed and reliability at home (17 per cent) or at other off-site locations (21 per cent).
- The main benefits of flexible work cited by respondents are the capacity to care occasionally for family members, avoiding the distraction of the office to get more work done, and cutting down travel time.
- Only 30 per cent of respondents expect that the NBN will increase the likelihood that their organisation will encourage off-site work options or that staff will increasingly request to work off-site.
- Responding to questions about NBN fibre to the home and fibre to the node, around half the sample did not know whether or not either option would increase organisational confidence in anytime-anywhere work.
Referring to the findings, AHRI chairman, Peter Wilson AM, said: “Flexible working arrangements underpin workplace outcomes that can be completed independently by an employee anywhere anytime, compared to interdependent activities with colleagues that are best undertaken at the office.
“This AHRI study reveals insights about anytime-anywhere work that can assist in the development of good workplace policy and practice. One of those insights is about prioritising appropriate training. If organisations want to create sustainable flexible work cultures, the lowly figures in this study around training for managers of employees working off-site, the workers themselves, and their on-site colleagues, are not good enough.
“Flexible work is finally about getting outcomes that boost quality and productivity which in turn contribute to competitiveness. In a fast changing world, the issue needs to be taken seriously and resourced appropriately.”