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15 – The pros and cons of remote work

Where the jobs are and other useful things to know and do for all the employers, contractors and job seekers in the Spinifex community

According to research conducted by the Centre for Future Work, only around 30% of Australian workers (4 million predominantly white-collar workers) have the capacity to work from home. What does this mean for the 70% who cannot work from home? This week we look at the question of remote work.

But first, let’s start with where the jobs are

Over the past week, we’ve listed a number of job opportunities in the following categories and locations in NSW. Around 25% are Government & Administration roles.

Albury Lismore
Ballina Manildra
Bathurst Mt Tomah
Bungendore Northern Rivers
Canberra Orange
Cobar Parkes
Cowra Riverina
Dubbo Sydney
Forbes Wagga Wagga
Gunnedah

 

For more information, take a look at our current job opportunities .

Also check out the Australian Government Jobs Hub 

How remote do we really want to be?

In the Guardian’s Life After LockDown survey, around 81% of people said they believe employees should be allowed to work from home if their job is able to be done remotely.

Some employees are happier and more productive at home, through:

  • Reduction in commuting time and effort
  • Absence of office noise and other distractions
  • Not having to get dressed professionally every morning
  • Feeling safe, staying well and less fear
  • Removal of the 9 to 5 worktime constraints

Other employees struggle with the collision of life and work, through:

  • Having to manage children at home
  • Finding space with other family members working at home
  • Missing the collegiate spirit and stimulation of colleagues
  • IT capabilities
  • Removal of the 9 to 5 worktime constraints (that’s not a typo, it’s a huge negative for employees who struggle to clock off)

So, there are differing viewpoints; but, they’re really only relevant to 30% of Australia’s workforce. The other 70% are simply not able to work from home.

So fairness and equity are big factors for employers making decisions around remote work. Other factors include:

  • The need to create COVID-safe workplaces, wherever employees work
  • OH&S and insurance considerations for those working from home
  • Cyber security
  • Location of offices (high-risk city versus lower-risk regional and rural)
  • Loss of creativity, innovative thinking, and problem solving which can only be achieved by people working together in the same space
  • Drop in team cohesion and collaboration through lack of social interaction
  • Rise in siloed thinking and resulting fragmentation of culture which impacts quality of customer service.

“Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions, from running into someone.” STEVE JOBS

“The big plus of remote work is being able to keep our employees safe,” says Spinifex MD Scott Small.

“We’re lucky to be able to work from home and have secure systems in place that enable that.

“We’ve also learned a lot, by running the business with people working from home. Like smarter ways to get work done and what parts of ‘normal’ are worth rushing back to.

“But a purely remote model is not sustainable going forward.

“We’re in the business of people and that requires us to interact with each other, our clients and job candidates; to understand nuances you can only do in person.

“Emails can’t convey body language and video meetings can inhibit natural responses. Face to face communications are still the most powerful. We’re human. We need to connect with each other, in person, as much as possible.

“We’re also in a business that needs to move fast. Being together is energising whereas remote communications can distort and delay the pace of conversations and activities. It is easier to collaborate, do cross-functional work and be creative when we are together.

“Another factor is our mix of office locations. Our city office staff face the challenge of safety on public transport and in lifts. Whereas, our regional offices are lower risk.

“Nevertheless, the reality is that no one knows how long this COVID-environment is going to last, and working from home is one way we can manage disruptions and stay safe.

“So, based on feedback from our staff and clients on what does and doesn’t work for them, we are focussing on flexibility.

“This includes running A & B teams in our city offices, continuing the frequency and level of communications and training we put in place at the start of COVID, making smart use of technology so we can be agile in this volatile environment and encouraging patience and understanding.

“Like all employers out there, the question of how remote work fits into our operations, is a question of what the business needs to operate and what it can sustain.”

For more information, see:

Until next week, stay safe.

Scott C Small Victoria Bila
Managing Director Group Manager – Operations
Andrew Egan Damien O’Donnell
Group Manager – Regional Operations Group Manager – Regional & Executive

 

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