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The decentralisation of work in the Illawarra

Practical insights for business

Deloitte Access Economics has released a report prepared for Business Illawarra to understand the shift towards remote working during COVID-19 and what this means for employers. This report is aimed at analysing both employer and employee preferences for remote work and proposes a set of recommendations for employers to enable greater adoption of remote work.

COVID-19 has accelerated the shift towards decentralised working. With many businesses forced to temporarily close their physical workplaces, both employees and employers were forced to overcome the barriers to working from home, effectively embedding a remote working mindset in the process. Reflecting the notion that work is no longer bound by the physical office, decentralised working, capturing work that is undertaken outside the primary office of an employee, is fast becoming a more permanent feature of many Australian businesses - particularly those in the knowledge sector.

Given its high commuter workforce, relatively affordable housing, and natural amenity, the Illawarra region is well positioned to benefit from the accelerated shift towards remote working.

Approximately 38% of the Illawarra workforce could work entirely remotely in the future. If 11,900 potential remote workers in the Illawarra worked remotely for an additional 1.3 days per week, this could contribute $4.1 million in spending across the region annually.

85% of Illawarra commuters surveyed would like to work from home 3 to 5 days per week in the future, compared to 62% of non-commuters who would like to work from home 2 to 3 days per week.

For employers, the top benefits of remote working are a reduction in overhead costs, access to a broader talent pool, and higher employee engagement. Some of the biggest barriers to remote working include developing and maintaining company culture, increased salary competition and difficulty collaborating online.

Despite the rapid adoption of remote working, the office still holds value as a place for collaboration and socialisation that contributes to the culture of a company and wellbeing of the workforce.

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