Who are the tele­work­ers?

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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.

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