Almost three in five Australian SMBs have employees who telework to some extent, according to Australian accounting software provider, MYOB.
The findings were revealed in MYOB's latest Business Monitor study, conducted by independent market research firm, Colmar Brunton, which surveyed 1005 SMBs.
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One in four (25 per cent) of respondents said their employees worked 'mainly away from the office', 32 per cent claimed they worked 'partly from home and from the office' and the remaining 43 per cent did not have remote workers.
The study also showed that SMBs whose employees worked mostly from a location other than business premises were 24 per cent more likely to see a revenue rise in the past year compared to 17 per cent whose staff only worked from the office.
In addition, 44 per cent of SMBs without teleworkers saw a fall, versus 30 per cent of those whose staff teleworked most of the time.
"This speaks volumes as to why empowering employees to work outside the traditional confines of an office is becoming increasingly prevalent. Businesses are realising the bottom line benefits and rewards from more engaged employees," MYOB CEO, Tim Reed, said.
According to Reed, key benefits experienced by the 57 per cent of SMBs whose staff telework include improved employee satisfaction, travel savings, reduced overheads and increased productivity.
"Technology is a key enabler of teleworking and nowadays you don't need to spend much money upfront to get started. There are plenty of simple free online technologies and applications available and the Cloud-enabled new versions make an easy transition for working remotely," he said.
He added that the initiatives emerging from Federal Government's National Digital Economy Strategy should also make the move an easier process.
"The government is running a range of programs that support its efforts to reach a target of one in eight Australian employees having a regular telework arrangement by 2020."
Other findings from the study include:
- Two in three respondents used email, nearly three in five used laptops/computers and more than one in two used smartphones when working away from the office. Less than one in 10 respondents used VPN and video conferencing.
- 78 per cent of SMBs were most likely to telework, versus 53 per cent in micro businesses.
- 69 per cent of Gen Y-ers teleworked, compared to 50 per cent of baby boomers.
- Staff in business, professional and property services were most likely to telework (70 per cent), and those in agribusiness, forestry and fishing were the least likely (35 per cent).
- Start-up businesses had more teleworkers (68 per cent) than established businesses (47 per cent).
- Metropolitan based businesses' staff took on teleworking more than their rural counterparts -- 67 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.
- Western Australia had the highest rate of teleworkers, at 60 per cent, while Queensland was the lowest at 54 per cent.