InternetNZ calls for boost in teleworking

Remote working can reduce pressure on transport infrastructure

The latest research into New Zealanders' use of and attitudes to the Internet has identified an opportunity to increase the level of working from home, relieving pressure on transport infrastructure.

The study of almost 1900 New Zealanders was undertaken by Colmar Brunton for InternetNZ. Forty nine percent of respondents said they already work some of the time from home, as well as their normal workplace, and half of these number would like to work more from home.

Thirty eight percent of those working some of the time from home cited the number of face to face meetings as the main barrier to doing so, 29 percent said their employer did not permit it, and 21 percent said their Internet connection was not fast enough.

Other barriers cited were: "I don't have space to work at home (14 percent); "My laptop or mobile phone isn't good enough" (13 percent); "My employer doesn't offer the technological support to enable me to work from home" (13 percent).

Commenting on the results, InternetNZ's outreach and engagement director, Andrew Cushen, said the research demonstrated a clear opportunity to increase the amount of home working in New Zealand, relieving pressure on costly transport infrastructure, and making greater use of national broadband infrastructure.

"Imagine if we could get just five percent of these people do work more from home. We'd be talking about thousands of people off motorways, out of carparks," he said.

"When you think of the $1.5b spent putting fibre to 75 percent of the population and compare that to the cost of the Western Ring Route in Auckland, which cost many more millions. This is an untapped opportunity for New Zealand to think in a different way about how we use infrastructure."

Cushen said he was not advocating a massive shift to home working. "If people had the opportunity to do one day per week from home it would have a real beneficial flow on effect to dampen infrastructure demand in more expensive sectors."

He suggested many of the challenges identified by the survey were easily solvable. "Too many face to face meetings: there is a lot you can do with videoconference.

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On employers; opposition he said: "That could be a huge change if there was incentive for it…. I see a set of solvable issues by the right set of technologies leveraged in the right way. I think there is real challenge and opportunity here."

Personal info and child access major concerns

The study showed access by children to inappropriate content and security of personal information as the dominant concerns New Zealanders have about the internet.

Seventy one percent of respondents, when prompted, said they were 'extremely concerned' or 'very concerned' that young children could access inappropriate content and 65 percent were similarly concerned about the security of personal data.

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Colmar Brunton's full research report is available here. It includes extensive information on respondents' attitudes to and use of .NZ domain names, and business use of domain names in general.

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