Sydney, Australia – 7th November 2013: – If you visit Microsoft Australia’s headquarters in Sydney today you’ll be greeted by a largely empty office and a deafening silence. That’s because Microsoft has asked its Australian employees to avoid going into the office. The challenge, which comes ahead of National Teleworking Week, was put forward by managing director, Pip Marlow, to spark a conversation about the rapidly evolving nature of work in the 21st century.
“At Microsoft, work is a thing you do, not a place you go,” said Steven Miller, Microsoft Office Division Lead. “Our offices are wherever we are, our work hours are when we choose them. It’s the outcome that’s important.
“Today, Microsoft Australia employees are having a ‘Spring Day Out’ to simply show that you don’t have to be tethered to a desk to get your job done. I lead a division that is dedicated to creating a set of productivity tools that lets our customers get the job done from anywhere and I think it’s important that we walk the talk.”
Many Australian workers don’t have this option. In a survey* conducted for Microsoft, 70% felt their organisation did not have the technology, tools and culture to embrace a flexible working model. Of the respondents who did have an option to work flexibly, half felt pressured to go into the office anyway. Moreover, 2 in 5 Aussie workers felt they worked in an environment where only senior employees could work from anywhere at any time
Critically, restricting Australians to the office environment may be detracting from efforts to make the nation more innovative.
Almost a quarter (24%) of Aussies said they had their most creative and innovative ideas just before going to sleep, while 15% revealed the shower as their creative hotspot. In contrast, only 1 in 10 of those polled felt the office was conducive to their creativity.
“More and more, Australia is competing in a global ideas economy. Ideas are the currency of the 21st century and the nations that are best at tapping into the creativity and potential of their people are going to be the winners,” said Miller.
The survey further revealed that Aussie workers believe savings in travel time and the ability to ‘get more done’ as the top reasons for wanting to flexibly work. Over 10% cited getting away from their colleagues as a reason!
Just under 70% elected getting work done at a time that suited them as a top benefit of flexible working while just over 60% felt that working away from the office allowed them to achieve a healthier work/life balance. Over 50% cited reduced commute time and savings on their petrol bill as a top benefit of flexible working.
“Often these debates are looked at through the lens of achieving better work / life balance. But really it should be about making life work better. Every company has different circumstances and every company needs to work out what’s right for them. But the economy and our society is transforming and our workplaces need to be able to transform with it.”
For more information on how Office 365 can help people get it done is available at http://www.office.com/getitdone, where people can also show how they get it done from anywhere.
*About the survey
Research Now surveyed a total of 1,011 18-65yr old full-time and part-time employees including all States & Territories in Australia. The research was completed and all data collected between 28th October 2013 and 04th November 2013. The research was conducted in in accordance with industry standards and delivered by an ISO 20252 accredited research provider.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential. More information can be found at www.microsoft.com.au