A NSW Government website

NSW Remote Working Insights

This series provides new evidence and insights on the long-term implications of remote and hybrid working.


November 2021 report:

November 2020 report: 

About the series

Read the transcript of the 'About the series' video

Hello, I'm Steve Sammatino.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on many people but it may be the catalyst for a huge change in the way we work and where.

Here at the New South Wales Innovation and Productivity Council, we've taken a deep dive into the New South Wales workforce to assess who can work remotely to what extent and how the COVID-19 experience could change the future of work. We asked 1,500 New South Wales remote workers about their experiences and used
artificial intelligence to assess the underlying potential
for Remote Working.

I'm really proud to present the first report in our New South Wales Remote Working Insights series.

In this report, we found that before twenty twenty, New South Wales had a large and untapped potential for remote working.

Following COVID-19, many employers and workers experience the benefits and challenges of remote working for the very first time.

Now, not everyone can work remotely but those who can report higher productivity and remote work can also save commuting time and ease traffic congestion but there are real challenges too around collaborating, connecting, health, and sharing the benefits.

Attitudes to remote working have shifted across our state. In the future, New South Wales workers want a balance of remote and on-site working and employees are more open to remote working than ever before.

In this report, we explore a hybrid model of remote and on-site work that could offer the best of both worlds. Vibrant city centres, higher productivity, offices built for collaboration, and maybe even the end of the cubicle farm.

Less commuting time and more family time. I really hope you enjoy this report. It's certainly an intriguing conversation starter and we all need to consider the future ways of working. Stay tuned for follow-up reports.

About the November 2021 report

The second report in this series presents where NSW remote working patterns may settle when the pandemic ends. It examines remote working patterns in early 2021, when community transmission of COVID-19 was minimal and health restrictions had eased.  


This report estimates that when health restrictions eased in early 2021, 30% of all work tasks in the NSW economy continued to be done remotely. 

Our modelling also shows remote working is protecting NSW jobs and economic output during lockdowns and could permanently boost NSW productivity when the pandemic ends. 

Key findings

Both workers and employers report benefits from remote working. Workers report that remote working reduces their commuting time, improves their sense of wellbeing, and allows them to work flexibly around their other commitments and activities. For employers, remote working opens access to wider labour pools, increases employee engagement, and reduces staff turnover. It also makes them more resilient to future shocks and stresses. 

But we are not seeing the ‘death of the office’. In this period of lifted restrictions, hybrid working became the most popular choice for remoteable workers (and their employers). Most workers still value the office for collaborative work, team building, and social contact. Employers and workers view hybrid working as a win-win as it combines the benefits of remote work and on-site work. 

Leading organisations are adopting innovative policies, processes, and initiatives to support remote and hybrid working including:

  • tailoring flexible working arrangements
  • experimenting with work arrangements
  • reshaping office use and work practices
  • finding new ways to measure work
  • taking the opportunity to rebuild work relationships. 

About the November 2020 report

The first report in this series unpacks our experience during COVID-19 and what it means for the future of work.


In the first report, we:

  • use Faethm’s Artificial Intelligence Predictive Analytics Platform to assess the underlying potential for the NSW workforce to work remotely
  • present insights from the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council’s 2020 Remote Working Survey of 1,500 NSW remote workers - shedding light on recent shifts in preferences, attitudes, time use, labour productivity, and industry - and occupation-specific impacts
  • set out our analysis of the literature, to provide a balanced, evidence-based view of what a shift towards remote working means for NSW policymakers, businesses, and the publicA
  • explore a ‘hybrid model’ that could combine the best aspects of both remote and on-site work.

Key findings

COVID-19 forced a huge experiment in our ability to work remotely. By May 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 46% of NSW workers were working from home.