Gordon Noble (Director Investments and Economy, Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Ltd.) and Brad Krauskopf (CEO, Third Spaces Group) have just launched their report ‘Breaking the Productivity Impasse’.
The report discusses the need for Australia to ‘boost productivity to deal with the multiple challenges of declining trade, the high Australian dollar, and the looming demographic time-bomb’ of an ageing population.
Gordon and Brad point out that commuting to work can present issues, such as an increased carbon footprint, reducing workplace participation (especially with certain demographics, such as disabled workers, caretakers and mature workers), transport congestion and more.
As an alternative to workers necessarily commuting to a singular office, the concept of teleworking was pushed by the Howard Government in 2005. However, despite the increased popularity of the internet and access to services by the everyday Australian, working from home in this capacity never took hold on a widespread scale.
Gordon and Brad present another substitute for commuting: a well-designed, national network of suburban and regional work hubs with resources for workers. The pair argue that Australia needs to rethink about the way we work in order to ‘break the productivity impasse’. The proposed work hubs will be strategically placed to best service Australia, including peri-urban areas such as the Gold Coast, Wollongong, Joondalup, Noosa and Toowoomba. Gordon and Brad cite benefits such as increased workplace participation, improved work-life balance, increased productivity, reduced city congestion, regional economic development, and lowering our carbon consumption. In addition, it would also lead to reduced cultural and organisational resistance, regulatory restrictions, security and privacy issues when compared to teleworking in the current Australian climate.