Dell Technologies has undertaken research into Australian employee readiness to work remotely long-term. In the inaugural Remote Work Readiness (RWR) Index, it was found that more than eight in 10 (84 per cent) employees in Australia (APJ: 81 per cent) feel that they are prepared for long-term remote work but are concerned about sustaining strong connections with colleagues.
Surveying over 7,000 working professionals aged 18 years and above from the Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) region (of which 1,024 were from Australia), the RWR Index captured data on employees’ readiness for long-term remote work and their views on the factors important for its success.
The study revealed that a stable internet connection was the most significant concern for employees, with 38 per cent (APJ: 34 per cent) citing it as a top worry should remote work arrangements continue long-term. Employees also felt that employers could provide more resources for productivity to support them.
Only about four in 10 (43 per cent; APJ: 46 per cent) felt that their employers were fully supportive of long-term remote work. When it comes to technology resources, just over half (53 per cent; APJ: 50 per cent) felt that their employer was doing everything they could to support effective remote working. Additionally, only 40 per cent (APJ: 40 per cent) felt that their employer was doing everything they could to provide them with the HR support needed to successfully work remotely.
“Employees had to quickly pivot to remote working and the short-fix solutions put in place, both by employees and employers, were okay in the short term. It’s not surprising to see concerns raised about long-term remote working arrangements,” said Angela Fox, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Dell Technologies, Australia and New Zealand. “The good news is employees are ready to continue to work remotely and employers are working to move from the initial ‘do it light’ strategy to a more comprehensive ‘do it right’ strategy that will provide greater HR and IT support to their team members.”
According to the research, employers have an ongoing task ahead to understand the challenges employees continue to face, and to provide the necessary resources for successful long-term remote work.
In terms of technology resources, surveyed employees had faced the greatest challenge in accessing stable internet to remain connected to the network. They were also hindered by the use of personal productivity tools. Employees also wanted access to internal company resources. As a result, employees stated that they want employers to provide productivity equipment or tools (40 per cent; APJ: 39 per cent) and ensure that they have access to internal company resources (35 per cent; APJ: 36 per cent).
Australian employees’ top technology challenges:
- Stability of remote network, including Internet bandwidth (30 per cent)
- Use of personal productivity equipment or tools for work (27 per cent)
- Access to internal company resources (26 per cent)
APJ employees’ top technology challenges:
- Stability of remote network, including Internet bandwidth (31 per cent)
- Access to internal company resources (29 per cent)
- Use of personal productivity equipment or tools for work (28 per cent)
For HR support, both Australian and APJ employees cited the top challenges being the lack of in-person communication. Other significant challenges were gaps in areas such as team engagement initiatives, learning and development sessions, including training for virtual tools, and best practice training for remote working.
Australian employees’ top HR challenges:
- Lack of in-person communication (41 per cent)
- Lack of team engagement initiatives (39 per cent)
- Lack of or insufficient learning and development sessions, including training for virtual tools (32 per cent)
APJ employees’ top HR challenges:
- Lack of in-person communication (41 per cent)
- Lack of or insufficient learning and development sessions, including training for virtual tools (39 per cent)
- Lack of or insufficient best practice training for remote working, and outdated policies and guidelines for remote work (38 per cent)
To successfully manage long-term remote work, a third (32 per cent; APJ: 47 per cent) of the employees surveyed want best practice training for remote working, learning and development sessions (32 per cent; APJ: 48 per cent) and team engagement initiatives (38 per cent; APJ: 46 per cent).
“Today, work is no longer a place we go to, but an activity we undertake. This outcome focused shift has many benefits for work life balance and productivity, as long as your remote workforce is supported and enabled with the right tools to do their work securely from any location,” added Fox.
Other key findings across age segments and organisational sizes
- Remote work is not new to employees in Australia. As many as 67 per cent of Australian employees (APJ: 71 per cent) had worked remotely before lockdown. Seventy-four per cent (APJ: 84 per cent) of Gen Z employees (aged 18 to 23 years old) have worked remotely before lockdown.
- In Australia, the most important factor for remote working is the stability of their remote networks (38 per cent). This factor is particularly critical to those in large organisations with more than 1,000 employees, where 42 per cent see this as the number one factor.
- Gen Zs also see access to internal company resources (35 per cent; APJ: 27 per cent) as a key technology obstacle. The same age group also cares the least about IT security of their remote network and devices (15 per cent; APJ: 17 per cent).
- In Australia, the lack of in person communication was felt across all age groups, but was especially prevalent in Gen Z with 45 per cent viewing it as their top HR challenge.
- In APJ, the most significant HR challenge felt by Baby Boomers was the lack of in-person communication, with 35 per cent viewing it as their top challenge.
About the study
The Remote Work Readiness Index is a study commissioned by Dell Technologies that captures data across seven markets in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region – Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea – on the readiness of the workforce for long-term remote work. It focuses on understanding the factors important for remote working; employees’ willingness as well as concerns to work remotely for the long term, and the technology and human resource (HR)-related support they need to successfully work remotely. The study also assesses employers’ efforts to provide these resources and identifies opportunities for organisations considering a hybrid workplace or adopting remote work practices.
The full findings for Australia can be found online.