Australians want to work from home more post-COVID

28 September 2020
75% of workers think employers will support future work from home plans
More Australians want to work from home an average of two days per week after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey by the University of Sydney Business School.

The Transport Opinion Survey, conducted by the University of Sydney Business School’s internationally respected Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS), found that across all industries, one in five employees worked from home regularly before the pandemic.

Three in four workers believe that post-COVID-19, their employers are more likely to support work from home than they did before the pandemic. During the pandemic, the number of work from home days doubled for managers and almost tripled for employees in sales and clerical/administration work.

“The evidence reinforces the fact that as we move through and beyond the COVID-19 period, we can expect commuting activity to decline by an average of 25 to 30 percent as both employers and employees see value in a work from home plan,” said Professor David Hensher, Founding Director of ITLS.

How Australian states compare on WFH

COVID-19 restrictions have seen the biggest change to work arrangements for Victorian workers, with 20 percent of respondents work from home on a regular basis before COVID-19, compared to 45 percent working from home during the pandemic.

New South Wales mirrored a similar rise in the percentage of employees working from home, with 20 percent working remotely before the pandemic compared to 39 percent during.

Queensland saw the least change to work from home, with 27 percent of workers saying they worked from home more than usual during the pandemic.

Throughout COVID-19, employees living in metropolitan areas worked from home more than their counterparts in regional areas, according to the survey.

But the increase in working from home was least for regional areas of Queensland, with the percentage of remote work rising by just over 16 percent, compared to an increase of nearly 30 percent in regional areas of other states and territories.

Working from home before and during COVID-19, segmented by metropolitan and regional areas.

Rising confidence about transport in Australia

Since a major fall in 2015, the latest Transport Opinion Survey (TOPS) index of transport confidence suggests public confidence is recovering. The index measures public confidence in transport infrastructure and services provided by local and national authorities.

In the short-term, the transport confidence index for local transport is at 110 in the September survey, which is a significant rise from 87 at the same time last year, and higher than 100 in March 2010 when this TOPS began.

The short-term index of transport confidence in one year’s time across Australia is back to over 100 for the first time since 2011 while long-term confidence over five years is at 104.

“Transport authorities should take this as a positive sign that their hard work to continue services through the challenges of the pandemic is working,” Professor Hensher said.

About the Transport Opinion Survey

The Transport Opinion Survey is the only regular national survey to measure public opinion on transport-related issues.

The September survey was conducted between 31 August and 3 September 2020, during which a sample of 994 Australians aged over 18 years completed responses. The sample is representative of Australia’s population distribution and demographic characteristics.

The Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies has been conducting the survey biannually since 2010.

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