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Australians saved $10k by working from home, Cisco research found

Many bosses are keen to see their staff back in the office but as the cost of living skyrockets, Aussies see remote working as a way to save cash.

Australians saved $10,000 a year on average as a result of working from home, new research has revealed.

Tech company Cisco’s global study of 28,000 full time workers, including 1042 Aussies, found 80 per cent of people saved money as a result of working from home.

On average, $216 was saved a week and workers also increased their savings by 15.5 per cent after cutting commuting, food, petrol and entertainment costs, the survey found.

As Aussies battle the rising cost of living and slow wage growth, almost three-quarters of workers said they would take the savings made from remote working into account when considering changing jobs.

Cisco Australia and New Zealand vice president Ben Dawson said WFH policies would become a huge factor in people’s decision on whether to work for a company.

“If it’s going to cost you $10,000 to join an organization that expects you to be in the office five days a week, that’s a real factor (in deciding where to work),” he told the Australian Financial Review.

“If people feel happier, healthier and financially better off, they’re going to expect that and it is going to be a source of competitive differentiation when we go to recruit people. I think flexibility has gone from being a unique aspect of some employers to being table stakes.”

But WFH wasn’t just making people wealthier with two-thirds of respondents also reporting improved physical fitness as they had the time to exercise more.

There has been a rising backlash when it comes to bosses requiring staff to return to the office.

Last month, a government poster encouraging Aussies to ditch their work from home arrangements and return to the office was slammed as “tone deaf”.

Cisco’s report warned employees that forcing staff back into the office, something the world’s richest man Elon Musk just demanded of his senior managers at Tesla, would mean companies can’t attract the best talent.

“Leaders must acknowledge that a point of no return has been reached and there must be deeper and more concerted investments in culture, communications, technology, workplace policies, and infrastructure to thrive in the new hybrid working future,” Cisco’s report said.

But nearly half of employees were concerned that remote work had led to a rise in being micromanaged, despite two-thirds believing their productivity and quality of work was better as a result of WFH.

People were also concerned about the impact of fully remote work on being promoted, with 57 per cent of those surveyed believing it made it challenging to engage with colleagues and the company.

“I think a fear about being out of sight, out of mind is well-founded,” Mr Dawson added.

Earlier this year, Aussie workers were upset about being forced to return to offices, arguing that the soaring cost of living, including skyrocketing petrol prices and commuting costs, meant they would be worse off financially.

A survey by the Finance Sector Union found 75 per cent of members were concerned about the cost and time of commuting if they had to return to the office after making significant savings on travel by working from home during the pandemic.

One worker in the FSU survey said working from home had improved their finances by at least $5000 annually and “freed up about 15 days per year”.

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