Research

Working from Home: Opportunities and Risks

The Australia Institute's Centre for Future Work has released a briefing paper looking at the potential opportunities and risks of the recent Coronavirus 'inspired' increase in the number of workers working from home. 

The paper says that when pre-virus norms resume, "it will be important for workers to maintain personal choice in the decision about whether to work from home, and to have the right to come into work when that is preferable". Workers should be able to reject working from home if it does not fit their needs, and in order to achieve this, "innovative" changes will be needed to awards, the NES and collective agreements.

"In recent years, emphasis has been placed on facilitating the rights of employees to request and have access to flexible work arrangements. After this pandemic, with likely pressure on many workers to keep working from home, the mirror-image entitlement will be required: namely, the right of workers to work at a formal, employer-provided workplace, rather than from their own home."

Issues that will need to be considered include allowances which take into account the increased costs to workers such as space, data charges, utilities charges, and so on.  As discussed elsewhere, there are also occupational health and safety risks which need to be taken into account.  
Read more: Working from Home: Opportunities and Risks [pdf], briefing paper by Alison Pennington and Jim Stanford, Centre for Future Work, April 2020 Source: Workplace Express. Information on Working from home.

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