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.

Report

November 2021 report:

November 2020 report: 

About the series

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.  

Approach

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.

Approach

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.