Give me a home among the gum trees…

outsourcing

By Martin Conboy, President – Australian BPO Association

Give me a home among the gum trees
With lots of plum trees
A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo
A clothesline out the back
Verandah out the front
And an old rocking chair. – Wally Johnson and Bob Brown (1975)

Businesses must change their attitudes about people working from home and use the Internet to connect employees through “telework”, the Minister for Broadband and Communications Stephen Conroy said.

According to a story in the Fairfax media today, Australia is lagging behind other developed countries in harnessing the Internet for business and needs to catch up, the federal government says.

“In Australia the number of people with an arrangement with their employer to work from home has been low by international standards,” Senator Conroy said.

Working from home is a lifestyle choice and offers high achievers an opportunity to either run a Small Office Home Office (SOHO) or work as a full-time or part-time contractor with out having the hassle of the daily commute.

It makes sense as it offers a nice alternative to companies that cannot get staff, but by teleworking they can access talent pools in outer suburban, rural and regional Australia. It’s an attractive option for enterprises looking to outsource but with objections or fears around off shoring.

With concerns rising about offshore outsourcing in terms of quality and security, more companies are becoming very interested in the cost-saving benefits of using agents who can work from their homes.

In the past, a variety of barriers have prevented people from getting into the home-based call centre industry. Now thanks to the proliferation and affordability of current technology [cell phones, e-mail, internet, etc] has made it possible for work at home opportunities to exist and succeed. There are some issues around OH&S and insurance but these can be easily managed.

Australia is lagging behind other developed countries in harnessing the Internet for business and needs to catch up, the minister says.

Businesses must change their attitudes about people working from home and use the Internet to connect employees through “telework”, the Minister for Broadband and Communications Stephen Conroy said.

“In Australia the number of people with an arrangement with their employer to work from home has been low by international standards,” Senator Conroy said at a Telework Forum in Sydney today.

“According to the ABS, just 6 per cent of employers from Australia have reported having any kind of telework arrangement with their employer.

“In the US, 10 per cent of US employees telework at least one day a month and eight European Union countries reported that more than 10 per cent of workers [were] involved in telework a quarter of the time or more and that was in 2005.”

Senator Conroy continued his sell of the National Broadband Network (NBN), promising the high speed connections would “potentially revolutionise” business.

By connecting workers from home, employers could tap into the skills of workers from across the country, improve work-life balance and potentially reduce absenteeism, he said.
“The delivery of reliable high speed broadband to every Australian premise will potentially revolutionise how we will work.

“It promises to transform who is able to work, when you can work, where you can work and how you can work.”
The comments follow the launch of a Deloitte Access Economics report that the Internet made a direct contribution to the Australian economy of $50 billion, which is almost on par with that of the retail sector or Australia’s iron ore exports.

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