WFH trend to continue as COVID restrictions lift


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 06 December, 2021


WFH trend to continue as COVID restrictions lift

Nearly one in five workers across Australia may continue working from home even as COVID restrictions ease, according to research from CSIRO and NBN Co.

The research, based on traffic patterns over the nbn as well as demographic statistics from the ABS, found that cities with longer COVID lockdowns had a higher proportion of people working from home even during COVID-free times.

Working from home was predictably most persistent in Melbourne (28%) and Sydney (27%), the study found. This compares to just 18% in Perth.

The findings suggest that working from home for at least part of the week is likely to continue for many workers even as offices open back up, according to NBN Co and CSIRO.

Some occupations are seeing a higher persistence of working from home compared to others. Those most likely to have continued remote working include business and systems analysts and programmers, system administrators and ICT security experts, arts and media professionals, and ICT network and support professionals.

In contrast, while managerial occupations showed some of the highest working-from-home levels early in the pandemic, these professionals have returned to the office at much higher rates than most professional occupations.

The research also identified an increase in rates of working from home in regions around the fringes of major cities, suggesting that the reduced need to commute is leading to some workers choosing to relocate further from their CBD offices.

NBN Co Chief Data Officer Joanna Gurry said the findings from the research will help inform the company’s long-term network upgrade planning.

“This research draws on NBN’s deep knowledge of broadband traffic patterns and CSIRO’s expert data analysis and modelling capability to further understand how households and businesses across Australia have used digital channels during COVID-19,” she said.

“The ability to work from home has been vital to Australian workers, employers and governments through the pandemic. While we hope the peak of the COVID-19 crisis will soon be behind us, many changes will persist, with significant implications for how, and where, we live, work and interact with each other.”

Gurry added that the findings related to online social interaction during the pandemic will also be important to inform NBN Co’s engagement activities aimed at lifting the digital capabilities of older Australians.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Marina Andrejchenko

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