Who are the teleworkers?
LOW-SKILLED workers at the wrong end of company hierarchies can become second-class employees because managers are only allowing a ‘‘ privileged few’’ to work from home, an academic warns.
Many bosses are reluctant to permit lower-level employees to work from home because they are suspicious about their performance while higher-level employees tend to be able to negotiate informal work-from-home arrangements quite easily.
The Federal Government wants to double the proportion of people who work from home to 12 per cent of the workforce by 2020.
Macquarie University academic Dr Yvette Blout says more needs to be done to spread the benefits of teleworking to all workers.
‘‘ Many workers have been knocked back from teleworking because their bosses think they don’t have the qualities needed to be a teleworker,’’ she says.
‘‘ Also, for people who were in the office, if there was something urgent that came up and the manger needed something done, the people who were visible in the office got the extra work or got the interruption, not the people at home.
‘‘ If they wanted access to the teleworker, they felt they couldn’t disturb them and not pick up the phone because they would be interrupting them.’’
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show about 60 per cent of people working from home in Australia are in higher-skilled occupations.
Blout says those numbers could be higher, however, because of informal work-fromhome arrangements.
Blout launched the Australia Anywhere Working Research Network this month.