Just 20% Of Businesses Expect Flexible Work Because Of The NBN

One of the obvious potential benefits of the National Broadband Network (NBN) is that it should make it easier to work from home or adopt more flexible hours. A new survey suggests that Australian employers might take time to adjust to that idea, with just 20% saying they saw the ability to offer a different employment model as a major potential benefit of the high-speed network.

The survey by Macquarie Telecom covered 540 companies across the country. 15% said they were likely to change their approach, while 5% said they would definitely. On the upside, 30% were unsure, which might be 30% ripe for conversion once the NBN spreads beyond its current boundaries and the political bickering calms down a little.

Does your workplace offer the ability to work from home? Would high-speed networking change its mind? Tell us in the comments.


    It would be good to see what kind of businesses were actually surveyed, and the size of those willing to work from home. I could understand a smaller business wanting the cohesion of an office, but a bigger corporation could fairly easily accommodate out-of-office staff, particularly if they're already a multi-site business that's adjusted to have fewer face-to-face interactions.

    I have worked form home for many years. The NBN wont make much difference to that as I have around a 6Mbit connection (over 6km's from exchange) and it handles 2 workers just fine, with Voip phones and general email and web surfing. Most companies, unless using video chat, would see little difference as most homes have access to ADSL2 connection speeds.

    It seems to me that the reason the % is low of those companies thinking they could increase remote working/flexible hours is because they haven't trialled it yet.

    You need to experience Video Conference/desktop sharing/interactive applications remotely before you realize they work.

    I think asking those who have no experience with remote working are more likely to say the speed of the NBN will not affect their work life.

    "Most" business owners are not tech savvy enough to know the difference the NBN will make or even consider what "flexible work" means in terms of technology.

    Like ljane said, the survey companies/criteria would put some context into the result.

    20% seems pretty good to me.

    Just getting the NBN is not instantly going to make it possible for employees to work from home.

    For one, it only affects people whose work revolves solely around the phone and computer. I know this may come as a shock, but there are many professions that do not involve sitting at a desk typing all day.

    Secondly, there is still a lot of work involved in terms of adapting security, software resources, business processes etc. As far as I am aware the NBN is not going to come bundled with Citrix XenApp, modern laptops and Aeron chairs for every schmo that wants to work from home.

    We have three main stumbling blocks with rolling out our remote work program completely. The NBN will remove almost all our worries about bandwidth costs and restraints for home users, the main office, hosting sites, and hopefully our satellite offices. There's still the rest to deal with after that, but if a lot of our workforce has a known good connection, it'll help reduce the rest a lot.

    At the moment, the people trying to work remotely have everything from dialup upwards. We have one girl who hates the long drive to the office, but has no 3G reception (any company) or phone jack.

    One of the biggest issues I see with remote work is controlling staff to do work, we've had a few staff at our office 'work' from home remotely and we found productivity, motivation and simply staff starting work at the right hours became an issue with the majority, I think human interaction in the work place is important to keep motivated for allot of people, some people obviously will not have these issues (as in the case of a few staff members) but the vast majority we found it did not work out very well for us. Also we found current ADSL2+ bandwidth was not an issue for us even when we had up to 3-5 people at the same location on a single connection with every day mail, CRM, Web browsing , VOIP..etc..

    I have been working from home for 3 years now, as a software developer.

    I only have an ADSL1 connection (no ADSL2+ on my Telstra CMUX), and the limited upstream bandwidth of ADSL1 is a big frustration/limitation for me.

    I cannot wait for the day I can connect to NBN fibre.

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