Working from Home has Declined

The short report which Peter Martin is referencing here is the enlightening Two Decades of Change document, which is well worth a read.

The report reveals some interesting trends, highlighting for example how the southern states have fallen way behind in terms of their economies and labour market growth, with employment growth in Tasmania and now South Australia in particular having tanked and unemployment now rising, trends which have been highlighted here previously.

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The Working from Home ‘Phenomenon’?

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On the working from home phenomenon, the “Two Decades of Change” report is quite conclusive:

“Yet another often-heard claim is that, facilitated by changes and advances in information and communication technology, work is increasingly being undertaken away from conventional workplaces, and more specifically in the homes of workers.

However, the available survey evidence provides little support for such a claim. Analysis of data from the HILDA Survey by Wooden and Fok (2013), for example, shows:

While taking work home is relatively common (with almost 23 per cent of Australian workers reporting doing at least some paid work at home each week), for relatively few workers (just 5 per cent) could home be described as their main location of work.

The majority of this small group of home workers is self-employed—only a little over 1 per cent of employees spend the majority of their work hours at home.

If anything, the incidence of working at home fell over the course of the last decade.

Such conclusions are broadly consistent with survey data periodically collected by the ABS as part of its Locations of Work Survey (ABS Cat. no. 6275.0). 

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Notably, the incidence of employed persons who report that their home is their main place of employment fell slightly between 2000 and 2008 (from 7.1 per cent to 6.4 per cent).”

This is indeed commensurate with what was concluded by the ABS Locations of Work survey as reported here previously.

In fact, the principal reason given by survey respondents for working from home was that they had become “snowed under” and fallen way behind on their workloads in their main place of work.

All available studies and reports have shown that, quite apart from undertaking a sea-change and heading en masse for the regions, Australia’s capital cities are in fact becoming increasingly centrally focused in terms of population growth, dwelling price growth, economic growth and employment growth.

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Pete Wargent is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Secretary and has a Financial Planning Diploma. He’s achieved financial freedom at the age of 33 - as detailed in his book ‘Get a Financial Grip – A Simple Plan for Financial Freedom’. Pete now manages his investment portfolio, travels and works as a consultant in the finance industry from time to time. Visit his blog

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