Mobile workforce gives productivity a 30% boost

Working from home increases productivity by 30 percent and is a "multimillion-dollar, untapped resource", according to Dr Neville Meyers, a teleworking researcher from the Queensland University of Technology.

Meyers said the federal government and employers can no longer ignore the benefits gained when employees work away from the office via the phone and Internet.

Currently, he said, almost two million Australians teleworked in some form, giving workers a better balance between work and home.

He said the simple act of working from home also had the potential to reduce traffic deadlocks in booming cities.

"It's ridiculous that we have 60 percent of the workforce driving to work just to send an e-mail to the person sitting next to them," he said.

Meyers has researched teleworking in Australia, the US and Europe for the past decade, and met this week with the Australian Telework Advisory Committee.

The committee, which is investigating the use of technology that allows more staff to work from home, was set up in March by Information and Technology Minister Helen Coonan.

Meyers said apart from reducing traffic snarls, teleworking boosted employee productivity by 30 percent and provided them with a "better interface" between work and home life.

He described teleworking as liberating, but said the biggest disadvantage is resistance from Australian corporations.

The committee will provide the government with its recommendations from the research by February 2006.