Articles and press releases
articles have been written in response to news reports and commissions.
All are now rather old but could provide interesting perspectives...
September 7, 2005:
Telework saves on fuel costs, time and emissions
Whether it is called working from home, remote work, flexible work or
just ‘doing it from a distance’, telework has become a very important
working practice. It delivers major cost savings, reduces congestion,
saves fuel, increases productivity and saves time.
Studies by Telework New Zealand show that a commuter travelling 10
kilometres every morning could save around $2200 a year in fuel, operating
expenses and car parking if they worked from home two days a week. They
would also keep 800 kilograms of CO2 and 45 kilograms of other toxic
emissions out of the atmosphere.
"Not only can commuters make significant savings in their fuel costs,
they can also get a lot more work done," says Bevis England, Director,
Telework New Zealand.
How much work can you do in an average day? How much time is being
wasted commuting? If the average commute was only 25 minutes one way,
staying at home two days a week would save 83.25 hours. Studies in the US
suggest that up to half of this time is used to do more work.
Another way of looking at this is to imagine how much work could be
done in the first hour of every day. In the time it takes an average
commuter to dress, have breakfast and get to his or her desk in town, most
teleworkers will have already done over an hour’s work.
These savings are only part of the benefit individuals will gain,
according to Telework New Zealand.
"Individual commuters are not the only ones to benefit from telework,"
says England. "Employers can also make significant savings with telework
arrangements in place."
Once staff retention and recruitment savings, productivity
enhancements, absenteeism reductions, and space savings are factored in,
teleworking organisations can gain up to $300,000 per annum, per 100
"These benefits are not unusual or extreme," according to England, "but
sound planning and implementation procedures are essential. And it is
important to establish a clear telework policy and guidelines to ensure
that all potential benefits are maximised and problems minimised."
August 17, 2005: Telework reduces fuel consumption
The Ministry of Economic Development’s recently published Oil Demand
Restraint Options for New Zealand report states that telework (called
telecommuting in the report) makes a significant contribution to
anticipated fuel savings.
"This is a timely recognition of the benefits that telework offers to
New Zealand," says Bevis England, Director, Telework New Zealand. "Reduced
fuel consumption is one of many important benefits from telework and it is
pleasing that a major Government report has now acknowledged this."
Although the report mentions that management reactions to telework
could reduce potential fuel savings, there are many other benefits from
telework. Promoting these benefits in advance and working to implement
appropriate telework arrangements will ensure that negative management
reactions are minimised.
"We look forward to working with the Ministry as it develops the
necessary guidance documents and information packs to promote and support
telework in New Zealand."
Not travelling to work will naturally lead to a significant fuel saving
regardless of the length of the disruption to our fuel supply. But
telework will also save considerable fuel now, making future disruptions
less likely. That the report acknowledges the value of promoting and
supporting telework immediately is to be applauded.
"The report does, however, have a few problems," says England.
The definition of telework that is used is
relatively narrow. It refers directly to the use of information
technology although this is not always necessary. It also refers
specifically to ‘working at home’ although there are a number of
potential alternative workplaces involved.
In the calculation of the potential saving
attributable to telework, the number of employees who could feasibly
telework is estimated at a little under 300,000. "Our calculations are
that up to 400,000 New Zealanders could be teleworking," says England.
Second, average commute lengths in many of
our cities are much longer than the 10.25 kilometres mentioned in the
report and there is no allowance made for the increased attractiveness
of telework for those with longer commutes. According to Management
Technology Associates in the UK, if the top 15% of car commuters (in
terms of mileage) switched to telework it would halve the UK’s total car
commuting miles, petrol use and congestion.
Third, elsewhere in this calculation, the potential fuel saving is
reduced by 25% due to increased discretionary travel by teleworkers.
This is debatable. Californian research (Henley & Associates) found that
discretionary vehicle miles travelled actually reduced by 22% when
work-related discretionary vehicle miles travelled reduced by 20%. "In
our experience," says England, "commuters do not use their vehicles when
they are working from home. They have a job to do and want to complete
it: they go shopping on other days."
If these three figures were amended, the
anticipated fuel saving could be much higher.
The report suggests that telework will be
more effective over the short term but experiences with the Auckland
Power Cut showed that although much ‘telework’ was possible, for most
employers it created major problems. To be effective, telework does have
to be planned, and implemented, in advance. Doing this will also reduce
the risk that management reactions will reduce the potential for fuel
savings. Implementing telework in advance will also contribute to energy
and fuel savings, long before these become critical.
- US Federal Government research based on a project in Puget Sound
suggested that up to 10% net energy savings were possible from
teleworking. This figure included savings in areas other than vehicle
fuel, e.g. the power saved in office heating, ventilation and air
conditioning, but some of this power is generated from oil fuels in New
Zealand. These potential savings have not been included within the MED
August 3, 2005: Establishing a telework policy
Telework New Zealand has released a new management resource designed
for companies who are considering implementing telework programmes for
The resource is designed for managers to use as the base for developing
their own telework programme.
"There is no one-size-fits-all telework arrangement," according to
Bevis England, Director of Telework New Zealand. "But there are some
basics that are always present in successful programmes. The resource we
have prepared sets out the success factors and presents a draft policy
that covers most of the important issues."
While some employers have simply provided employees with remote access
technology and allowed them to work off site whenever they feel like it,
this is not the most successful form of telework and can create problems.
In the most successful telework programmes, the employer has developed a
policy document in consultation with relevant employees and managers.
"In our draft policy, we establish guidelines to cover most of the
likely scenarios," says England. "Performance management suggestions and
an answer to the question ‘Who pays for what?’ are both provided. We have
also provided a questionnaire that will help individuals work out whether
telework is right for them. The questionnaire could also help supervisors
identify who can and can’t telework."
Telework is a form of flexible working that has become increasingly
popular in many countries around the world. It is most successful when it
is thought about as a management strategy that targets improved profit and
productivity by supporting work away from the traditional office. It often
involves staff working at home, a day or more a week, using technology and
better resource planning to replace the daily commute.
Telework delivers both tangible and intangible benefits for employers.
In some cases, the employer has gained $300,000 per annum (per 100 staff).
In others, improved flexibility and trust, combined with a more productive
and enjoyable work environment have led to much lower staff turnover and
higher morale. Employees have also benefited with lower commuting costs,
significant time savings, and better work-life balance.
"One of the significant benefits of telework is its affect on traffic
congestion and pollution," says England. "Telework has been shown to
reduce peak hour traffic by a significant percentage. If only 5% of
Auckland’s commuters did not use their cars two days a week we’d keep
close to 30,000 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere. We’d also save 2.8
million hours of lost productivity and over $50 million in fuel costs and
"We want to make it as easy as possible for New Zealand companies and
commuters to realise these gains."
Establishing a Telework Policy (Policy)
provides a simple guide to many of the issues involved and direct
assistance for managers wanting to set up telework programmes. It is
available from Telework New Zealand as a physical or electronic document
and can be supported by targeted consultation and workshops.
July 20, 2005:
Safety and Health for Teleworkers
Telework New Zealand has released a guide to occupational safety and
health for teleworkers. The guide identifies risks and problems that
teleworkers working at home could face. It provides a work sheet to help
teleworkers identify problem areas. The guide also provides considerable
information on ways in which risks can be minimised and avoided.
The guide, designed for employers to distribute to teleworking staff,
is only available from Telework New Zealand. See
teleworkers for more information.
Telework is best understood as working from a distance. It usually
involves employees working at home or in other locations for some of the
time every week. Although the word ‘telework’ may be new to many, flexible
work practices, mobile working, and work-life balance policies mean that
many employees now fit the teleworker label.
"Although working from home instead of commuting is becoming an
increasingly popular option in New Zealand, there are some problems", says
Bevis England, Director of Telework New Zealand. "Employers are uncertain
about the legal requirements of our occupational safety and health act as
it applies to teleworkers."
Under New Zealand legislation, employers are responsible for the health
and safety of their employees, "as far as is practicable". This can be
relatively complex for employees who are working ‘off-site’.
Employers who take their OSH responsibilities seriously will inspect
the intended off-site work place and monitor how it is used. Some will
supply all office furniture and equipment. But the most important action
any employer should take is to ensure that employees are aware of the
potential risks and how to minimise them. This is why the OSH guide was
The guide, written in layman’s language, covers a wide variety of
potential risks and how to overcome them. It is based on extensive
experience and consultation with a variety of professionals. The guide is
designed for employers to distribute to their staff before telework
starts. It is also designed to supplement the employer's existing OSH
"We have found that stress, caused by overwork, performance concerns,
and inadequate time planning and management skills, can be a major cause
of problems in the home office," says England. "We have looked at this
issue in some detail within the guide and provide many suggestions and
ideas that will be helpful for teleworkers.
"Employers can gain up to $300,000 per year, per 100 staff, through
sound telework practices and we want to make it as easy as possible for
employers to realise these benefits. That is why we are making this OSH
The guide is available in two forms: as a bound document or in
Microsoft Word format. Telework New Zealand can also provide a two-hour
workshop for employees to support the guide.
Telework New Zealand has been promoting and implementing telework
arrangements since 1989. The company works on both sides of the Tasman.
Far from the Maddening Crowd?
You've probably read something like this
"It's 7:30 in the morning and Peter Maxted has just finished his daily
two-minute commute. Peter is one of that new breed of worker who works
from home. His clients are spread around the city and around the world but
with Internet-based email, he is able to answer their requirements quickly
and efficiently from his home office - without sitting in rush-hour
traffic for hours …"
The article might go on to tell you that
there are millions of people like Peter, that his spouse and children
enjoy the extra time with him, and that Peter's clients are really
impressed with his productivity. It might also suggest that 40% of all
employees think that they could work the same way but only 16% of
employers will allow it.
It's all true - but it's also
It's true that telework offers
significant productivity advantages, that there are millions of
teleworkers around the world and that few employers (especially in New
Zealand) presently allow their staff to telework regularly. It's also true
that the individual teleworker (and his or her family) can benefit from
But these articles are also misleading.
For a start, you don't have to be self-employed (like Peter) before
telework delivers benefits. Telework doesn't have to be 'a full-time
thing' - most employees who telework do it on only two or three days a
week, at most. You don't have to rely on sophisticated (or even basic)
technology for telework to work well. And these articles also imply that
almost everyone could telework and that it is really easy to set up.
At its simplest, telework is nothing
more than 'working from a distance'. But this simple approach is not
always the most helpful - it glosses over many of the important issues.
Telework New Zealand takes a more considered approach and defines telework
as "a management strategy that maximises profit and productivity by
enabling, supporting and effectively managing the performance of work in
non-traditional work places".
This definition does not mention
technology: successful telework programmes are "technology enhanced, not
technology dependent" (as Gil Gordon, the US telework specialist puts it).
Neither does it mention the home office: there are many possible
alternative work locations. What it does do, however, is emphasise
corporate benefit. It also suggests that successful telework
implementation relies on the effective management of people and tasks.
There are very few examples of successful telework where the only thing
right was the technology: but there are plenty of successful case studies
where the only thing right was the management.
In New Zealand, telework is still very
much in its infancy but it is growing. There are probably only a few
hundred conventional teleworkers here, i.e. people who work off-site on
one or more days every week. (This excludes those for whom the traditional
work place is, or should be, on the road.) Organisations as diverse as
insurance companies, banks and legal practices, government departments and
local government authorities, and computer vendors and manufacturing
companies have, however, put telework programmes in place. (In some cases,
telework is part of a package of 'family-friendly' policies.)
The key issue addressed by all these
enterprises is, first, a clear vision of the corporate and individual
objectives the programme is to meet. Without this focus it is easy to get
confused by the perceived costs, or by irrelevant benefits. If the focus
is to save money this year, the cost of setting a teleworker up could be
important. If, on the other hand, the objective is to save on staff
turnover, both set-up costs and possible space savings could be
Once a clear objective is available, it
is possible to design a 'model' of how telework will operate within the
enterprise. There is no 'one size fits all' telework solution: what works
for one company won't necessarily work in a different enterprise. The
model will spell out how many staff could be involved, how many days (or
hours) will be teleworked per week, whether home offices or telecentres
are involved, and so on. (On the basis of this model, a detailed
cost-benefit analysis can be prepared.)
Finally, the model, and its operational
details, has to be documented in a form that makes it possible for all
employees to consider themselves as teleworkers. This 'policy' describes
the form of telework involved and spells out who pays for what, the
eligibility requirements, and how telework arrangements can be terminated.
Underpinning all these steps, sound
telework programmes seek to involve all managers and staff in an on-going
consultative exercise to ensure that all possible problems are
accommodated. The final programme will deliver many benefits - not the
least being up to $300,000 per annum, per hundred staff.
Peter Maxted is no longer particularly
unusual, and telework is no longer 'new'. It is a proven way of working
that delivers many benefits. The key is to ensure that sound
implementation procedures are involved.
Traffic Demand Management - an Oxymoron
Accommodating the continuing growth of
our major cities is posing unnecessarily high costs on tax payers, rate
payers and businesses.
"This has been known for some time,"
says Bevis England, director of Telework New Zealand, "but all the
solutions so far proposed have missed the point."
Many recent news stories have
highlighted the costs associated with, for example, motorway maintenance,
congestion, new transport terminals, and harbour bridge extensions (such
as bus lanes) and replacements.
With congestion costing in excess of $60
million dollars per year, (on Auckland's motorway system), and with
alternatives presently under consideration likely to cost hundreds of
millions of dollars more, there is a desperate need for a cost-effective
solution to our cities' traffic congestion.
Congestion costs are eating away at New
Zealand business' competitiveness while the costs associated with the
proposed 'solutions' will pose a continuing rates burden on urban rate
payers and tax payers for decades to come.
According to Telework New Zealand, all
these solutions will not only be very expensive: they also miss the point.
Most proposals assume that trip demand will continue to grow and
concentrate on accommodating these trips.
"Smart planners don't accommodate the
problem they are trying to solve: they endeavour to eliminate it," says
England. "If a fraction of the proposed transport expenditure was spent on
eliminating trips, traffic congestion would probably take care of itself.
"Traffic Demand Management is an
oxymoron because it assumes the existence of demand and then sets out to
manage it. Traffic Demand Reduction should be the primary focus of our
There are many trip reduction techniques
available but the most successful in many international settings has been
telework and similar non-traditional work place arrangements. These not
only reduce the number of trips made at peak hour, they also directly
increase the profitability of our business community and improve the life
style of every employee involved.
Telework could also start to demonstrate
real results within a matter of months (in terms of reduced traffic
pollution and congestion) as opposed to the ten or more years that some of
the other proposed 'solutions' will require.
"Despite the logic that drives trip
reduction, all our high-profile commentators on traffic issues have
completely ignored it," says England.
Telework has been shown to reduce peak
hour traffic demand by over 5% -- and continue to grow with no cost to
anyone. If widely implemented it has the potential to halve the
congestion, pollution, energy consumption and costs associated with
Telework New Zealand has been working in
telework and related fields since 1989. It is Australasia's only
consultancy specialising in telework implementation and has worked with
public and private sector organisations on both sides of the Tasman.
A Light Rail Project for Auckland?
While no single transport initiative is
likely to solve Auckland's traffic congestion, it is disappointing to note
that resources appear unfairly distributed between the various options.
With Friday's news reports concerning Auckland Regional Council's decision
to review the light rail proposal, the debate has once again been directed
towards projects with costs measured in millions and entailing extensive
infrastructural work. (Saturday's comments from Ian Revell, regarding the
Harbour Bridge, are simply a further extension of this focus.)
There is a smarter, cheaper option to
both light rail and new bridges - telework, directly reducing the need for
travel. Like light rail, bus lanes or any other vehicle-based transport
solution, it will not be the total solution but it is preferable in many
ways. Rather than paying to accommodate travel it is surely smarter to
reduce the need for it.
At its simplest, telework is a business
strategy that enables and supports work at other than the traditional work
place. It has been shown to reduce peak hour traffic demand by up to 5%
(within the first few years and higher percentages thereafter), reduce
nett energy costs associated with commuting by 10%, decrease pollution,
increase employee productivity and job satisfaction by up to 40%, reduce
absenteeism by 40%, improve management skills and contribute directly to
community revival, office space savings, and much more.
It might not be accurate to directly
compare light rail with telework but, ignoring all the other advantages of
telework, the following comparison makes the point fairly clearly:
|The light rail argument
The telework response
utilise existing rail lines
There are already trains running on these. Why aren't they more
New link up Queen Street
Costs money and will cause considerable traffic disruption and congestion,
even after its completion.
Could service west, south and east
Telework 'serves' every street, office
and house. Properly organised bus services would provide more extensive
coverage than light rail. Telework also serves the North Shore. (Even with
light rail, the Harbour Bridge will remain a problem.)
Core system would be expandable
At more cost later? Telework utilisation also expands over time at
virtually no cost.
solution to Auckland's traffic problems
When both trains and buses have not
succeeded in reducing these problems, why should another form of public
Telework is better
High speed and chic, according to one proposal
Have you seen a chic train? Telework
has been called the one-minute-commute: no train is that fast.
||Telework is more
reliable (in this context).
Infrastructure can embrace urban renewal projects
Telework can breathe new life into
existing urban centres and (even if telecentres aren't used) generate more
vital suburban life.
Highly attractive to car users
Are they trying to say that drivers of company cars will leave them at
home? Telework reduces vehicle use by 22% even if the teleworker is only
teleworking one day a week.
Best solution to serious traffic congestion problems
Only once it has been shown that the
cheaper (free?) alternatives can not take the 'edge' off the congestion.
The smartest solution to traffic congestion is to reduce the demand for
Mobility impaired have easy access
But they would rather not have to
travel as often or as far anyway -- which telework makes possible.
||At $300 million?
For around 0.1% of the projected cost of light rail, and no capital or
investment overheads, telework (in conjunction with other alternatives)
could provide considerably greater benefits.
The basic problem with light rail is
that, as public transport, it will suffer from the same problems existing
public transport suffers from - not going where you want to go, when you
want to go, and not allowing flexible usage throughout the day. Given that
Auckland already has widely spread business centres (Henderson, Manukau,
Albany, Tamaki, Penrose, Takapuna, etc.) cars will still be needed (in
many users' minds) for trips throughout the day. Cars will still be on the
road every rush hour.
Telework is not a perfect or total
solution - some of the arguments against public mass transit systems could
apply to telework as well and telework will not be right for every
individual or company, although the exceptions are a small minority. But
the important point is that it is effectively free, has many other
advantages aside from traffic congestion, and needs to be recognised for
the potential it undoubtedly offers.
(Note that telework does not necessarily
involve the home or expensive technology. Nor does it entail being out of
the traditional office all of the time -- the US average is 1.57 days a
week away from the traditional office.)
To propose the expenditure of millions
of dollars without first assessing the impact of telework is a potential
waste of money. As telework becomes increasingly popular in the Auckland
region, trip reduction could make severe inroads into the profit margins
(and payback time) of any large capital project.
Further, to propose this investment on
one possible solution to congestion without also proposing even a marginal
investment in telework appears unreasonable, if not irresponsible. (The
strategy presently only endorses a loosely worded form of telework.)
Telework is a proven approach to
reducing traffic congestion; it costs very little (comparatively) to
implement; and it provides the only win-win-win solution, benefiting
individuals, companies and the community at large. It deserves wider
practical consideration than it is presently given.
CHOGM Traffic Congestion -- STAY AT HOME
I have listed a few points below, which
might make interesting radio over the coming few days. I will be available
on 811 8024 should an on-air discussion be considered interesting or
1. With Auckland's motorway system
effectively closed for most commuters, this coming Friday and Monday are
ideal opportunities for Auckland businesses to experiment with Telework.
Road closures and severely restricted traffic flows at rush hours this
coming Friday and Monday will make large areas of Auckland's CBD virtually
impassable to normal traffic. Congestion is probably already as much as
many commuters can bear.
2. Telework means that employees and
managers do not need to travel to the office every day. Expensive
technology is not essential.
3. Auckland City suggested public
transport as an alternative to traffic congestion but did not mention
telework. This is strange considering that public transport could become
equally congested while telework eliminates the problem at source. It is
also the only alternative that holds significant advantages in the longer
Other cities, when faced with congestion problems, have encouraged people
to stay at home. Why didn't Auckland say the same? (Los Angeles used the
'work at home' approach to ensure that athletes could get to the venues
during the 1984 Olympics.)
4. City planners were informed about
telework and its potential for both this current problem and on-going
transport problems some months ago. They did not make any response.
Telework in its true sense is a
management strategy that enables and supports the performance of work at
other than the traditional workplace. Its wider understanding and
implementation could reduce peak hour traffic (every day) by over 5%.
Local Councils are prepared to spend $3.6 million to gain a reduction of
only 3.6% (with the Bus way on the Harbour Bridge) -- and yet they do not
mention telework at all even though it will cost themselves and their
ratepayers virtually nothing. An event like CHOGM provided an ideal
opportunity for the Councils to get a stronger message about traffic
congestion and its alternatives across to the City's driving public.
(Auckland Regional Council's current Land Transport Strategy endorses
telework as one alternative to traffic congestion.)
Businesses and staff across the city
should use the coming few days as an opportunity to experiment with
telework and STAY AT HOME.
Out of sight; Out of mind?
Despite the many financial benefits it
offers, telework will not be widely implemented in New Zealand until a
basic management phobia is overcome. This phobia is rarely verbalised but
the root of the problem is usually expressed as a question: "But how can I
manage staff I can't see?"
According to many commentators this is
the single most important obstacle to a wider adoption of telework.
Although the question appears glib, and
can be answered equally glibly, it also requires serious answers,
according to Bevis England, Director of Telework New Zealand, the national
"Telework does not mean the employee is
'out of sight' every day or all day," England says. "The average
teleworker is only out of the office for around 12 hours a week (1.5 to 2
days a week or 2.5 hours a day). As a result it is often not necessary to
change the way staff are managed at all -- they are still in the office
for the majority of the working week.
"On a more serious level, a closer look
at how staff are presently managed is critical.
"Few managers would willingly admit to
judging employees by their visibility. No-one is naive enough to conclude
staff are working productively simply because they are in the office. The
computer could be on but they could be playing games or 'surfing the net';
they might be on the phone to a bank manager rather than a client. Many
staff are more productive away from office distractions.
"It often comes down to trust. No
manager will employ people without trusting them. And if an employee can
be trusted to perform in an office, he or she should be trusted to perform
wherever the work is done."
According to England, it comes back to
sound management approaches that ensure staff are well briefed and
appropriately monitored, regardless of where they work. "Management by
objective is the basis of effective management whether staff are
teleworking or not. Even though it might not be normal in every
enterprise, it is the smart way to manage," England says.
The manager's phobia can also be reduced
by considering basic worker psychology. General Norman Schwarzkopf has
been quoted as saying: "People go to work to succeed. Nobody goes to work
to fail. It seems obvious. So why do so many organisations operate on the
principle that if people aren't watched and supervised, they'll bungle the
"Modern managers recognise that they
must enable and motivate their employees to succeed," observes England.
"This is far more important than where the work is done."
"The bottom line is the understanding of
telework that a manager has and how the programme is implemented," adds
England. "You cannot just give an employee fancy technology, send them
'home' and expect everything to work out fine. Telework is not right for
every person or enterprise."
According to England, effective implementation ensures that only suitable
staff become teleworkers, and only suitable supervisors manage them. (This
might mean that supervisors who manage on the basis of visibility could be
moved, to a department with less teleworkers, for example.) Furthermore,
telework is usually implemented voluntarily. Either the teleworker or the
supervisor can terminate or alter the arrangement (with notice) if
"If problems do emerge with certain
individuals, managers or employees, there is always an 'out'", says
However, England acknowledges that logic
and 'best practice' might not be sufficient to overcome management phobia.
"Fear of telework, like fear of the dark, is often irrational. But even
phobias can be cured, with appropriate treatment."
One such treatment is gradual exposure
to the cause of the phobia. For example, telework can be implemented
gradually. "You don't need an all-or-nothing approach," England says.
"Management can move gradually through the various stages of tolerating,
permitting, enabling and supporting before fully promoting the strategy.
Once the financial advantages have begun to emerge, even the most
intransigent manager will allow staff out of his or her sight."
Bevis England is Director of Telework
New Zealand, New Zealand's national telework promotion and implementation
agency. Telework New Zealand has been assisting enterprises and
individuals to assess and access the benefits of telework since 1989.
New Zealand business is in danger of
being left behind in its application of international trends and
innovations, according to Bevis England, Director of Telework New Zealand,
Australasia's only specialist telework consultancy.
"New Zealand's enterprises are missing
out on major cost-saving opportunities and employees are not benefiting
from the full potential of new management and strategic approaches,"
England has recently returned from a
major consulting exercise in Perth, Western Australia, where a variety of
enterprises are actively adopting new workplace strategies such as
telework and working from home.
In one case, a state-wide power company
is looking at using telework strategies to support a programme of shared
office space that should see the company halving its real estate
commitments. Since the company owns two CBD buildings, the potential
profit from this arrangement is very high.
In a major educational establishment,
senior executives are investigating the potential of telework as a
catalyst for cultural changes within the enterprise, to reduce costs
throughout the enterprise, and to provide better services for students.
Three separate government departments,
including Transport and Commerce and Trade, are also building telework
approaches into their plans for future policies, services and operations.
"These are not isolated examples,"
according to England. "There are many other projects underway in Australia
and further afield. But in all these cases, there has been a conscious
effort to design telework programmes that answer corporate and individual
objectives and to build the programme into the enterprise at a strategic
According to England, it is not
sufficient to tolerate ad hoc work from home: you can't get any
space savings if out-of-office desk work is unscheduled or uncontrolled.
Furthermore, communication channels can become confused.
"Telework must be implemented as a
management strategy, targeting the specific benefits individuals,
supervisors, and share-holders are looking for. Wherever it has been
successful, telework has been deployed as normal work option, delivering
workplace flexibility through structured relationships between individuals
and their employers. In such examples, the benefits in productivity,
morale, absenteeism, staff retention and recruitment, and overhead savings
have been measured in thousands of dollars per teleworker, per annum."
Community benefits have also resulted.
For example, telework has been shown to be the only reliable and economic
way of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. Its potential for
providing support for rural development and for reducing the costs of
policing in suburban areas has also been recognised.
"As a number of managers and policy
personnel in Western Australia have found, telework can help with many of
the ills of modern society, while delivering real benefits to the
individual, the company and the community," says England. "If we are to
compete in the same international arena as these Australian enterprises,
we will need to adopt the same strategy here - and, looking at the costs
of the morning traffic jam, it's high time we did so."
Telework New Zealand aims to assist
enterprises assess and access the potential of telework, a management
strategy that maximises profit and productivity by enabling, supporting
and effectively managing the performance of work in non-traditional work
places. Neither the home nor sophisticated technology need be involved.
Telework New Zealand has been operating for over ten years and has a
wealth of research, local and international experience, and a proven set
of implementation tools to call on.