Workforces are evolving and organisational leaders are embracing new ways of improving productivity, affordability and social impact. As technology advances and issues of environment, population growth and social inclusion present societal challenges, there is a shift occurring with regards to work practices. Telework is enabling this change and is fast becoming an integral part of a flexible workforce. During National Telework Week, 12-16 November, Infoxchange will host Teleworkforce - a conference on the impact, benefits and challenges of telework specifically for the community sector.
The conference, supported by Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and will bring together community and industry leaders, service providers and teleworkers. Teleworkforce will address the economic and social outcomes of telework, demonstrate practical methods of integrating flexible arrangements with traditional work practices and discuss how leadership and change can overcome the barriers and challenges of telework.
“Telework” is working from a place other than the office, either at home, on the road, or in a business hub or “telecentre”. The rise in mobile devices and the advancements in cloud based communication technology means that telework has become a more viable option for many workforces. There are a number of benefits that come from integrating telework into an organisations’ work model, including increased productivity, employee satisfaction, higher retention rates and cost savings.
Infoxchange has been practising telework for 18 years. A recent survey revealed a high level of staff satisfaction and productivity. Of those surveyed, 100 per cent felt that teleworking increased their efficiency and over 85 per cent felt that telework increased their job satisfaction. More than half of this teleworking team has been with Infoxchange for over 10 years. This high level of staff satisfaction and retention has saved the organisation both time and money. ‘It is one of the main reasons that I have continued with the organisation, because of the flexibility that teleworking has allowed me over the years,’ said one ServiceSeeker employee.
‘Telework has the ability to be a real leveller in terms of social inclusion by creating a work environment where no one needs to be left behind – those with disabilities, carers, the older generation, people in remote locations’ – Peter Walton, CEO, Infoxchange.
Telework can also generate significant social impact. Cloud and communication technology allows employees to work from anywhere and still be connected to the office. Flexible working arrangements can benefit both employees and employers by providing opportunities for those who would otherwise find it difficult to work within the traditional office model due to disability, location or home life. Outside an organisation, the benefits of telework continue – environmentally, there is an opportunity to reduce traffic congestion and the amount of physical office space needed.
There’s no denying the challenges associated with successfully integrating telework into an existing workplace model. There are attitude changes needed from a leadership perspective, a certain level of ICT capability and a cultural shift toward trust and outcome based performance management. At the Teleworkforce conference, Infoxchange will discuss the tools that can support telework, such as the AppPac4nfp suite of online applications, and present not-for-profit focused examples of the benefits and challenges of telework.
For more information: