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NBN enabled telework will mean businesses reap benefits::

Working from home with the help of the National Broadband Network’s high speed and ubiquitous broadband will provide an economic boost and cost savings to Australia’s industry according to a new report welcomed today by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy.

“The Deloitte Access Economics report Next Generation Telework: A Literature Review gives a ringing endorsement to our world class National Broadband Network in terms of the benefits it will provide Australian businesses through increased teleworking,” Senator Conroy said.

“The Gillard Government has an aim, set out in the National Digital Economy Strategy, that by 2020 the number of people working from home would double to 12 per cent so that at least one in eight employees will have an arrangement with their employer to work from home.

“And this report shows that more flexible working arrangements can be beneficial to both parties.

“The NBN will allow Australian businesses to work more efficiently by cutting costs and increasing staffing flexibility. It will open new opportunities to recruit and keep staff across Australia.”

The Deloitte Access Economics report noted that:

• The benefits of telework for employers are significant, and have the potential to generate large cost savings and productivity gains to business;
• The Sensis Business Survey (2009) found that 82% of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which had adopted telework felt it was positive for their business;
• Companies can save $2 for every $1 spent on equipment and extra phone lines for teleworkers;
• SMEs have been seen to use telework at a higher frequency once it is adopted and so encouraging telework adoption among this group of businesses may increase participation; and,
• Two to three days of teleworking will provide the greatest benefit for employers.

The report indicates a lack of access to appropriate information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure is a large barrier to telework and that increasing the level of broadband penetration increases the rate of telework.

“So clearly, the fast broadband speeds, the ubiquity and reliability of the NBN will encourage more businesses and employees to negotiate teleworking arrangements,” Senator Conroy said.

“Businesses understand that faster, more affordable broadband enables them to adopt more efficient business processes. Until now, working from home has simply been too difficult for many organisations.”

NBN champion and tech businessman Dave Abrahams uses teleworking and welcomes the report’s findings.

“High-speed broadband enables more teleworking, which means, as I’ve found out personally, employers have the flexibility to keep valued staff when their situations change,” Mr Abrahams said.

“This flexibility is good for our personal lives, but added up, it’s very good for the economic productivity of Australia.

“There is no doubt the NBN is a game-changing technology. Its ubiquity will position many organisations and staff to adopt teleworking arrangements.”

The Australian Government has committed to a range of actions to boost telework. The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will work with the Australian Information Industry Association to promote telework with case studies and videos.

The Department will also meet with industry groups and Commonwealth agencies to develop practical guidance related to telework.

In addition the Department will promote telework across the Australian Public Service, including for disabled Australians, Indigenous communities and other groups, in consultation with Commonwealth agencies and relevant peak bodies.

To view the full list of Government and industry actions resulting from the Forum visit: www.dbcde.gov.au/telework. To view the report Next Generation Telework: A Literature Review visit: www.dbcde.gov.au/telework.

06 November 2011