New WFH and transport-related patterns emerge

4 April 2022
University of Sydney Business School survey
After two years working from home due to the pandemic, many Australians have established a new working pattern according to a new survey by the University of Sydney Business School.

The Transport Opinion Survey by the University of Sydney Business School has found a new working pattern that involves a day or two working from home (WFH) is emerging.

NSW and Victorian workers work more from home, with an average of 1.50 and 1.43 days per week as of March 2022. The researchers suggest higher proportion of WFH in these two states may be linked to several factors including high daily COVID cases, heavy rainfall and flooding in NSW, the disruption to public transport services in NSW and the higher proportion of professionals, clericals, and managers in these states where WFH makes more sense.  

Among all occupations, professionals, clerical and managers work most from home. Those who work from home less include machine operators, community workers, sales, and technicians.

"This reinforces our earlier research which suggests that the average number of WFH days in Australian cities is between one and two days a week, depending on occupation,” said Professor David Hensher, Director of the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies.

“These findings align with what looks likes being the ‘new normal’ in terms of hybrid working, with one to two days a week working from home and three to four days from the office. However, the office may not be where it was before, but a satellite office closer to home with shared space. We are starting to see some signs of a move to the 15-to-30-minute city.”

The survey also found that the ‘new normal’ involves more online shopping.

Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of Australians shopped online last month, with an average of about three orders per week. Of these, about 1.81 orders are delivered, while the balance (1.16 orders) are click-and-collect.

Victorians and South Australians placed more online orders, with an average of 3.18 and 3.15 orders per week, respectively. By contrast, Queenslanders and Western Australians placed less orders, with a weekly average of 2.69 and 2.60, respectively. People in NSW placed 3.02 orders, slightly higher than the average of 2.97 orders.

Professor David Hensher suggests that: “Online shopping has seen many shopping trips replaced by delivery services, resulting in the higher number of light commercial vehicles on our roads. The greatest impact is at the suburban areas where delivery vehicles compete with cars, resulting in increased traffic, despite the reduction in commuting trips due to working from home”.

About the Transport Opinion Survey

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

The March 2022 survey was conducted between the 1 and 13 March 2022, with completed responses from 1,027 Australians aged over 18 years. 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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