A new travel survey by the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies in the University of Sydney Business School found that in September 2022, Australians on average, did just over four days of paid work per week, of which one day was working from home.
The survey, published in October, also found more people are shopping online, adding to suburban traffic issues despite the reduction in commuting.
Almost all occupations worked less from home than they did in March 2022. Managers, professionals, and clerical and administrative workers continue to work with the highest number of days from home at 2.77, 2.92, and 2.65 days every fortnight respectively.
Machine operators and labourers have fully returned to their main workplace, given that their jobs are predominantly done on-site, while technicians have also reduced their work from home days by almost half since their role requires them to work primarily on-site.
Sales workers were an outlier as they increased their working from home by about 19 percent, from an average of 1.52 days per fortnight in March 2022 up to 1.81 days per fortnight in September.
Paid workers were found to spend about four percent of their work hours at places other than their office or home, such as at a satellite office, cafe, or library.
Professor David Hensher, Director of the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies said the latest survey reinforces the Institute’s earlier research predicting the future of work in Australian cities.
“These findings align with what looks like 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 always be where it was before, but a satellite office closer to home with shared space. We are starting to see some signs of stabilising hybrid work patterns,” Professor Hensher said.
The same survey also found more Australians have shopped online compared to March 2022.
Over the last month, more than three-quarters (76.4 percent) of Australians shopped online, spending an average of $375 per month. Online shoppers in Queensland, South Australia and NSW spent the most, ranging between $400 and $420 per month.
Groceries and fashion are the top purchases, accounting for 27 percent and 20 percent of online spending respectively, followed by hobbies (13 percent) and health & beauty products (10 percent).
The preferred delivery method for online shopping varied by products, with over 70 percent of online shoppers choosing home delivery for fashion and hobby products, while up to 45 percent of shoppers chose click-n-collect for groceries, specialty food, liquors, variety stores, and home and garden products.
“Online shopping has moved many passenger trips towards a goods delivery trip, increasing the number of light commercial vehicles on our roads,” Professor Hensher said.
“The greatest impact is being felt at the suburban levels as delivery vehicles compete with cars, resulting in increased traffic despite the reduction in people commuting to work.”
The Transport Opinion Survey is the only regular national survey to measure public opinion on transport-related issues.
The September 2022 survey was conducted between the 1st and 7th of September 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.