Teleworking – Is policy flying blind?

by: John Deridder – SNG Group, Broadband Today

18th August 2011

Key messages
• Digital Economy statistics
• If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it
• Telework is a good application of the NBN but needs to be benchmarked

To his credit, Senator Conroy set some hard quantitative targets to be reached by 2020 for the eight goals of the National Digital Economy Strategy. In the case of telework, the goal is to “double the level of teleworking so that at least 12% of Australian employees may work away from the traditional workplace”. That implies it is about 6% now – right?
Wrong. The latest figure we have is indeed 6% but it comes from an ABS Time Use Survey conducted in 2006 – the figure is 5 years old! Worse, the next survey will not be conducted until 2013. The hard 12% target may not be so hard to achieve given the changes in broadband availability over the last 5 years.
If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. This is not difficult to fix; although I should declare an interest in the proposed solution.
Last year, the Strategic Networks Group (SNG) found that 18.9% on average (25.6% in metro areas) teleworked in North Carolina; with about half of these reporting that they telework more than 3 days a week! SNG finds that collecting benchmarking data directly from organisations and households not only provides more current data of progress towards goals, but also maps drivers and barriers to utilisation
The case studies to be presented at the DBCDE-AIIA teleworking forum on the 3rd of August are fine. But there is no reason to expect things to change without an execution framework that engages end-users directly – in itself this promotes awareness and drives utilisation of broadband-enabled solutions.


About the Author:

Name:  John de Ridder
Title:  SNG Associate
Company: SNG or
John is a former Telstra chief economist who has been consulting to public and private organisations here and overseas. His main expertise is in broadband, pricing and regulation.

Contact details  tel: 0409 804 278   Email:

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