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Published 19 June 2012 07:12, Updated 20 June 2012 22:01
Mobile workers one day may be as ubiquitous as mobile phones but that doesn’t mean everyone will be working from home. A growing number of workers around the world are opting to work in a “third-place environment”, defined as convenient locations employees use as work spaces as technology and their jobs no longer fix them to a desk.
A global research report from ZZA Responsive User Environments, which combined data from a survey of 17,000 global businesses, reveals that working flexibly is no longer synonymous with working from home. More than half the respondents from 60 countries reported doing some or all of their work from a location separate to their home or office. Three-quarters of the Australians surveyed said third-place environments are more convenient and suited to their lifestyle than a permanent office. More than half the local respondents prefer to work in informal spaces such as cafes and libraries instead of the company-owned office, while 44 per cent favour working business centres or lounges. The report found the benefits of these arrangements range from reduced stress and improved productivity for the employee and cost-effectiveness, scalability and reduced property commitments for businesses.
“Today’s dynamic technological, economic and social conditions create opportunities for individuals and pose new challenges for organisations,” says the author of the report, Ziona Strelitz. “Attracting and harnessing talent is a central challenge for business and third-place working that enhances the quality of work life supports this agenda.”
Global research firm International Data Corporation forecasts that by 2013, the Asia-Pacific region will be home to 734.5 million mobile workers compared with 546.4 million in 2008. IDC defines mobile workers broadly to include employees who work from home, have no office base and those who work while travelling.