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Remote Working - Australia's Bundy Clock Culture

April 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 198

Australia is a land of open spaces, we live in a country ideally suited to home or remote working also known as teleworking, but we are a nation still struggling with a deep rooted work culture, the Bundy Clock culture. We have come along way since our first Industrial Relations legislation the Masters and Servants act but have we really conquered our class system mentality and roots or are they underlying the way we view remote working?

Not all jobs are fit the home working model and when I refer to the Bundy Clock culture I am not speaking of roles that legitimately need people to clock in and out and be at their stations for the agreed amount of time. Bundy Clocks still have a legitimate role in certain work places.

I am speaking about roles that do not actually require the person to be present between certain times. Jobs that would be a lot more effectively measured with productivity. Smart small to medium business has been better at realising the real benefits to their companies and their employees from this effective way of measuring output not hours. The other employers who have quickly realised the advantages for them are companies like IBM and some large banks they have cut down on the cost of actual offices all over the world and effectively have many remote or home working employees.

What about employers?

There is growing argument that remote work forces provide real business benefits.

If the employer embraces flexible work practices (not just home working) he or she can open themselves up to a whole new field of employees. For example there was an employer who was having trouble recruiting for his company and once he embraced flexible work practices he found many men and women with caring responsibilities were so happy to work for a flexible employee they left higher paid roles as an added benefit hid staff retention dramatically improved. Work flexibility including remote working has real value in attracting employees.

In Australia employers could be attracting staff from a bigger pool of talent for example there is vast untapped skilled sets amongst some of rural fellow country men and women very often well educated and very often needing some income due to floods, drought and other factors that reduce their income.

Sixty percent of respondents to the Microsoft Telework survey conducted among 3,600 employees in 36 cities nationwide say they are actually more productive and efficient when working remotely. With less time spent commuting and work interruptions from being in the office like 'the water cooler culture' fewer interruptions that cause distractions, respondents say, more time can be spent on the task in front of them.

Christine Durst, founder and CEO of Staffcentrix and author of two books on the subject of telework, says the benefits start with basic cost savings from travel, real estate and utilities. But they also include less quantifiable areas such as recruiting and retention - and, yes, productivity.

The current accepted model for supervisor or management roles is to eye ball the employee: what time they came in, left, how long for lunch they can check on the physical presence of the employees and in theory that is checking they are working - the Bundy Clock mentality. Some managers feel a real loss of control and do not know how to manager another way. They also may feel a loss of prestige in a change to their role. Managers who are open to the change in role are results driven have good communication skills and delegate well. It is a new way of managing people and not everyone agrees with the change.

What are the disadvantages to employers? Why are we as a nation of employers and employees so hesitant to take up remote working? What are the advantages and disadvantages to employees? How can companies use flexible practices in a measurable way? Does Australia's Industrial Relations history and current state have any relevance on this topic? These questions will be addressed in the next installations of Australia and the Bundy Clock Culture.

Industrial relations professional and remote worker Robin Fisher is a keen observer of Australia's Bundy Clock culture. She has worked with trade unions, NSW public service, large, medium and small businesses as an advisor and educator in Australia and the UK over a 16 year career and is optimistic about Australia's ability to progress away from the Bundy Clock culture.

Source: EzineArticles
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