Top Kiwi companies say yes to teleworking

Many of New Zealand's top companies are considering introducing teleworking for their staff. That's one of the findings in a Computerworld 1000 Survey of 500 leading New Zealand companies. Of the 314 companies which responded, 38% said they were considering teleworking and 51% said they weren't.

Many of New Zealand's top companies are considering introducing teleworking for their staff.

That's one of the findings in a Computerworld 1000 Survey of 500 leading New Zealand companies. Of the 314 companies which responded, 38% said they were considering teleworking and 51% said they weren't.

Graham Hough the IT manager for Linfox Logistics, a company which manages supply chains "from the warehouse to the customer", sees teleworking as being a viable way of improving productivity in the future.

"We work with a number of installations and I can see it helping in the support area." Linfox has used a notebook combined with a cellphone to offer support from anywhere in the country, something Hough has done "from the beach" - which he found particularly pleasing.

Murray Browne, IT manager of drug company Smith and Nephew, believes sales and marketing is one area that could really suit teleworking.

"They can actually do a lot of what they want to do from home."

Browne would use a less rigid approach to teleworking, where there is no strict segregation of home workers to office workers. Some staff may need to use the office on certain days, others may prefer just to work from home in the mornings. Currently Smith and Nephew has one teleworker and no firm plans to launch a teleworker programme, but Browne does look favourably at the idea.

Income is always high on any employee's list of things to discuss with bosses, and IT staff are no exception. The Computerworld 1000 Survey asked if average salaries for IT staff would increase, decrease or remain unchanged during the next 12 months. Only 1% expected a decrease, with 72% expecting a pay rise.

One respondent felt the shortage of trained staff in New Zealand was responsible for the increase.

"With the millennium bugbear on the horizon, staff are becoming even harder to find."

The year 2000 issue was blamed by most for pulling staff away from general IT roles, and Smith and Nephew's Murray Browne felt a number of staff were looking to the contracting side of the business as a way to make more money. "It's quite tempting when I look at my desk and I'm up to my nose in alligators."

Combined with a general shortage of skills, Browne believes the average pay would increase by around 5%.

Most respondents agreed, with 54% believing salaries would increase by up to 5%, a further 35% hoping for up to 10% increases and 9% of respondents looking for up to 20% increases. The current problems with the Asian economies doesn't seem to change that in the respondents' eyes.

"No, I can't see it impacting on us," says Browne. "I think we're relatively insular. There's a lot of pressure on the industry and I can't see that going away soon."

Linda Johnston of Tradenz agrees.

"Information management has an increased status and importance within organisations." She believes salaries are quite high in some areas but as a whole they can rise.

"Trying to find someone with Windows NT 4 or Microsoft Exchange experience means parting with good money."

As one respondent points out, the main cities can always pay more, while some IT staff prefer living in other areas and avoiding the hassles of a big city while still receiving an adequate salary.

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