Research from GoToMeeting by LogMeIn has shown that the traditional 9-5 job is becoming a thing of the past. The study conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with LogMeIn surveyed 1000 people across AN/Z, the UK, France, Germany and India and found that many Australians and New Zealanders are opting to work remotely. Despite feeling a level of guilt in being away from the office, this work style is also making employees healthier and happier.
The study examined working structures, workplace environments and routines and found the concept of working a regular eight-hour shift is in noticeable decline. In fact, more than half of modern Australian (55 per cent) and New Zealand (57 per cent) office workers now have the ability to work remotely, if they choose to. Of those who do; 70 per cent said it gives them more flexibility in their hours or breaks, more than 43 per cent say it’s easier to focus, or take care of kids or family members (38 per cent of Australian and 40 per cent of New Zealand respondents), while more than a third (34 per cent of Australians and 39 per cent of New Zealanders) revealed they feel more productive when working remotely.
Many also reported feeling happier and that their mental health was better supported when they worked from home. Australia and New Zealand rated the highest in this regard, with 35 per cent and 40 per cent of respondents agreeing, respectively.
Cost and geographic distance were also key factors for respondents that decided to work from home, with Australia and New Zealand leading on the time that could be saved by eliminating their daily commute (67 per cent of NZ and 56 per cent of Australian respondents).
The balance has swung in terms of where people feel they work best – although 71 per cent of Australians and 76 per cent of New Zealanders say they are most productive in an office, many feel they do their best work outside it. 53 per cent of Australians and 44 per cent of New Zealanders would ideally work from home, and 12 per cent cite a library, cafe or public space as their preferred place.
The results showed that ANZ office workers are looking for the perfect balance of office and work from home opportunities to keep them happy. Just 10 per cent of Australians and 7 per cent of New Zealand respondents would be interested in a position that entails remote working all of the time. In fact, 49 per cent of Australians and 54 per cent of New Zealand office workers stated that their ideal working situation includes working part of the day/week in an office and part at home or on-the-go. 45 per cent of Australians and a huge 67 per cent of NZ respondents would be more likely to take a job with a remote work option than if it was offered without the option. 22 per cent of respondents from both markets would also be willing to take a job with lower pay if it allowed them to work remotely.
While the range of work from home perks grows it’s being somewhat negated by the emotions experienced by these employees, indicating that it’s time for businesses to step up.
The findings suggest that half of the workforce feel the need to combat a perception that working from home is less productive than being in the office (42 per cent of Aussies and 56 per cent of New Zealanders respondents). While 55 per cent and 42 per cent respectively admitted to suffering from pressure to appear “more responsive” on email and other communication platforms while working remotely. 22 per cent also felt pressured to work more hours, encroaching on family or free time.
The research also highlighted that businesses need to do more to involve their employees that work from home. Australians that work remotely reported the highest level of loneliness/lack of camaraderie with their office peers (49 per cent) with New Zealanders close behind (40 per cent). Many also said it was more difficult to communicate with their co-workers and some felt left out throughout the day (20 per cent of Australians and 32 per cent of New Zealanders) while some faced significant issues with technology and connectivity (33 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively).
Regardless, the importance of having a work from home option for modern workers is abundantly clear. With the results showing the connection to improved productivity, health and happiness, more than 82 per cent of office workers think that remote work opportunities are important when it comes to the future of business.
“We’ve uncovered that while over a third of workers find it easier to focus while working from home and report numerous benefits, they feel that there’s a perception from the outset that they are slacking off,” said Eduardo Cocozza, VP of LogMeIn. “This means they end up sending more emails and being more responsive on other team chat platforms than they necessarily would do while in the office, just to prove they’re working. This is clearly a problem. Businesses need to trust their employees to do their jobs and ensure they act on this opportunity to improve employee wellbeing and satisfaction.
“For businesses looking to grow and succeed in the future, offering work from home opportunities will be vital to their success,” Cocozza added. “Even allowing employees to work from home once a week can boost productivity as well as morale. Long gone are the days of traditional office work in the confines of an office setting. Office workers are looking to live more environmentally friendly lives, save money on their commute, and have more flexible, family friendly schedules which allow them to get more done and be more productive than if they had co-workers constantly distracting them in an office setting.”