New research by Australia’s largest accounting software provider, MYOB, reveals almost three in five small and medium businesses now have employees who telework to some extent.
MYOB commissioned independent market research firm Colmar Brunton to conduct a nationally representative survey of 1,005 SMEs. One in four (25%) said their employees worked ‘mainly away from the office’, one in three (32%) said they worked ‘partly from home and from the office’ and the remainder did not have remote workers.
One key finding was that SMEs whose employees worked mostly from a location other than business premises were 24% more likely to see a revenue rise in the past year. They were 32% less likely to see a revenue fall.
CEO Tim Reed says, “The link between teleworking and improved business results is clear in MYOB’s research. SMEs whose employees worked remotely most or all of the time were 24% more likely to experience a revenue rise in the past year. 21% experienced a rise, compared to 17% whose staff only worked from the office.
“The link became even clearer when we investigated revenue falls in the past year. 44% of the SMEs without teleworkers saw a fall, versus 30% 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.”
Mr Reed says, “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 such as Skype, Dropbox and Gmail. And the cloud-enabling of new versions of more fully featured applications such as Microsoft Office 365 and MYOB AccountRight Live makes for an easy transition for working remotely.
“The initiatives emerging from the 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.”
Respondents whose employees worked away from the office to some extent were asked what technologies they used for teleworking. Two in three used email, nearly three in five used laptops/computers and more than one in two used smartphones. Interestingly, fewer than one in 10 respondents used VPN and video conferencing.