Study to assess barriers to teleworking

Project follows telework goal set by Australian government

Cisco and the University of Melbourne want to know why more Australian and New Zealand businesses and government bodies aren’t teleworking.

The networking company and university announced they will research how teleworking is being used and barriers to adoption. Research starts this month and results are due for release in October next year.

The study was announced after Prime Minister Julia Gillard set a goal of having 12 per cent of Australian Public Service workers regularly teleworking by 2020.

It’s not clear why organisations have been slow to adopt teleworking, said University of Melbourne professor Tim Bentley, who will lead the project.

“This investigation will examine the use of telework amongst thousands of employees who telework at least one day per week across a wide range of New Zealand and Australian sectors,” Bentley said in a statement.

“While focusing on issues such as facilitators and barriers for telework uptake, telework productivity, and quality of life and wellbeing of teleworkers, we will also be paying particular attention to the role of management attitudes towards telework, and the ability of current organisation systems and processes to adapt to flexible forms of work such as telework.”

Cisco, which sells products enabling telework, will pay for the study.

“This research is intended to increase workplace understanding of the human resource, cultural and technology issues teleworking raises and help devise appropriate strategies to maximise the productivity benefits of teleworking,” said Ken Boal, Cisco managing director of enterprise and public sector for Australia and New Zealand.

The Gillard government has said that teleworking could help grow annual gross domestic product by $3.2 billion and create 25,000 new full-time jobs by 2020.

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