"Population, participation and productivity are the key drivers of economic output," said Nicki Hutley, KPMG Australia’s Chief Economist. “People have been talking about productivity, but participation in the workforce has significantly detracted from growth over the last two decades.”
The traditional definition of teleworking is expanding. It’s not just mums working from home anymore, businesses are increasingly looking at offering improved flexibility to work across a range of platforms and provide their expertise from wherever they need to be.
"We've known for some time about the benefits of teleworking," said Hutley. "These include improved capacity to recruit and retain staff, reduced absenteeism, reduced commuting costs and associated environmental savings and overall better work-life balance.
"However, teleworking also enables greater participation by older workers and those with disabilities."
55-64 year old participation rates for Australia lag behind many comparable countries, like the US, Sweden, Japan and the UK. In 2009 there were two million older workers willing to return to the labour (NSPAC 2009). If Australia was to increase participation rates for this age group by 7 percent, this would raise GDP in ten year by $25 billion, or 1.4 percent (Daley 2012).
KPMG Australia also says that there are 200,000 people with disabilities or special needs who are prepared to work from home, or even a local work hub, provided they have the right support (NDS 2011).
"Teleworking provides people with a disability the opportunity to engage in the workforce while still having the necessary equipment, therapy, support and care," Hutley commented. "It also means they can progress their careers."
Regional Australia is another beneficiary of teleworking, provided it is backed by the right infrastructure technology.
"There are people looking to leave the ‘rat race’ of the city and move to regional areas where they feel they’d have a better quality of life. If business and government continue to adopt the right technology infrastructure, like cloud technology for example, the burden on our cities and urban areas can be eased."