Almost 2.4 million Australian workers have the option to work from home during the covid-19 pandemic and consequently save money and time that would’ve been spent travelling to and from work. Working remotely has saved 2.4 million Australians on daily commutes.

A recently published report showed that in a world prior to covid-19 the average full-time city workers spent 67 minutes each day travelling to and from work. This turns out to be an average of $49 in foregone earnings.

The figures are even higher for workers who take public transport to work, with the average time spent traveling and transport cost estimated to be about $57 each day according to the results from the Productivity Commission’s latest survey.

This means that all in all if a worker was to commute one day less each week over the course of the year, they would save seven total days in travel time and $394 in public transport expenses that’s why working remotely has a lot of benefits.

“Avoiding the commute can therefore substantially benefit workers — survey evidence suggests that many workers consider it to be the most beneficial aspect of working remotely. Saving on the commute enables workers to undertake other activities — such as extra work, time with family, and caring and domestic tasks,” stated the Productivity Commission.

The number of Australians working from home increased significantly from 8 percent in a world before the covid-19 pandemic to 40 percent this year. This is a shift in how Australians spend their money and time that could have ramifications for their rates of pay.

In the long term, this means workers will ultimately have more power to select jobs that meet their lifestyle needs, although there could be salary trade-offs.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people are already leaving their jobs to pursue the flexibility offered by remote work. Workers may also be willing to accept lower wages to work from home,” said the Productivity Commission.

Research in America outlined that found the ability to work remotely for two or three days a week would be equivalent to a 7 percent pay rise for workers.

Furthermore, 40 percent of workers who participated in this American based survey admitted that they would quit their job if their boss forced them to return to the office full-time.

It has been speculated that in the future workers across America might be forced to take a pay cut as a result of being employed remotely.

It has been reported that Google is proposing to cut their workers wages by up to 25 percent if they choose to work from home. However, the exact percentage of their pay cut would be dependent on how far away they live from their office.

Facebook is also deliberating about introducing plans to base a worker’s salary based on where the worker lives.

Despite these potential changes being implemented by American businesses, the Australian Productivity Commission has outlined that the likelihood of remote Australian workers receiving a wage reduction is highly unlikely.

According to the Productivity Commission this is for a number of reasons; first of all, what people say in hypothetical surveys doesn’t always translate into reality.

Secondly, it is important to keep in mind that as remote work becomes increasingly normalised, workers and employers will inevitably find ways to reduce distractions and increase productivity, putting upward pressure on wages, the Productivity Commission report found.

Businesses Encouraged to Take Mental Health of Staff Seriously

Thursday 9th September was R U Okay Day, a day where Australians are encouraged to have important conversations about mental health with friends, family and work colleagues.

There are many ways business across Australia can remain in contact with the R U Okay organisation all year round. Most importantly, the suicide prevention charity offers a large range of resources available to inspire and help business leaders build an “R U Okay” culture within their organisation to ensure that all employees feel safe and that their wellbeing is looked after.

The resources provided by R U Okay include a Workplace Champions Guide to promote peer-to-peer support and regular, meaningful conversations among colleagues. There’s also a guide available that aims to encourage people talk to their colleagues about whether they’re OK, a presentation kit and a video.

Businesses across Australia can also host events. Covid-safe activities suggested for those workplaces in lockdown include hosting a digital event, going for a walk with someone when restrictions allow them to and creating an online communication channel.

According to the R U OK? organisation, the benefits of promoting a supportive culture at work include; To help you become an employer of choice, boosting staff engagement and morale and it also supports a business’s legal obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to protect the mental and physical wellbeing of your employees.