Atlassian has revealed what makes Australians satisfied with remote work and what they miss about the old office life

Working from home. Image: Getty

Australians have adapted pretty well to the work-from-home lifestyle, according to a new report from Atlassian.

The Australian software giant released the ‘Reworking Work: Understanding The Rise of Work Anywhere’ report into how employees have been adjusting to remote work.

The report, which was conducted by research firm Paper Giant, surveyed of more than 5000 people across Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the US, and found that globally, 53% of respondents found it easy for them to be effective while working from home.

However, the respondents did find some challenges with this working style, with 44% finding work-life balance difficult and 38% of caregivers finding it hard to be effective while remote working. On top of that, 54% found it hard to maintain boundaries between work and their personal lives, and 44% spent less time on personal pursuits.

Among the report’s findings, Australians happened to thrive the most when working from home. It found that 68% of respondents felt more job satisfaction because of working from home, with 80% feeling closer to their teams and 73% being more satisfied with their business leaders.

Atlassian work futurist Dom Price told Business Insider Australia that Australia’s more positive response to working from home has partially to do with how quickly the country acted when the pandemic hit.

He pointed to factors like Australia closing its borders early on and many businesses being quick to switch to remote work. At Atlassian, everyone was able to work from home within 48 hours, with other Aussie companies like Canva, Envato and Clipchamp also going remote.

But with working from home, it’s important for employers to trust that their staff are still completing their tasks.

“Back in the day when we were in the office, for most workers there was no correlation between line of sight and productivity,” Price said.

“It’s got harder but this element of trust is weird because you can’t see it, you can’t smell it, it’s very hard to measure. But when you have trust on both sides – the employee and the employer – wonderful things happen.”

The challenges of working remotely

While Australians may find more job satisfaction by working remotely, three in four respondents were “annoyed” that it took a pandemic to be able to have this flexibility.

But this remote work reality does have its drawbacks. According to the report, 69% of Aussie respondents said they were a little lost without their usual work routines (getting up, getting dressed and commuting) and 77% missed their workplace energy.

One of the stats that “worried” Price, however, was that people have found they spend less time on personal pursuits.

“We’ve inadvertently extended the working day and I think we’re doing it by sacrificing things that are as important, if not more important, being balance,” Price said. He gave the example of people thinking they would normally do something on a night out but they can’t because of COVID restrictions. So instead, they might do some more work.

“In a short period of time that may be permissible but is that sustainable?”

Price added that western countries have been extending the working day for a long time.

“We’ve been adding in technology and saying we’re going to reduce the working week for about 20 years and it’s been slowly increasing, not decreasing,” he said. “And this has just tipped us more in the wrong direction.”

Which is why Atlassian has been emphasising the idea of balance among its staff.

“One of the things that we’re pushing right now at Atlassian is not only around mindfulness, mental health and resilience but about balance,” Price said. “What are the things you’re doing to balance yourself and your life? And how do we make sure that you have the right time to invest in family, friends, society and community?”

A new normal

Price explained that prior to COVID, working in an office was considered “a great leveller”, where employees would have the same desk, chairs and be essentially in the same environment.

That has changed with the pandemic. “Everyone’s going through COVID but not everyone’s having the same experience,” Price said.

And this is why it’s important for employers to have empathy.

“The more we can empathise, the better we can lead,” Price said.

While the future may see a lot of companies employ a mix of remote work and office work, Price believes there shouldn’t be a two-tiered system where those who head to the office are viewed more favourably than those who choose to work from home.

“However you think about where you work, we need to focus on how we work so that we’re inclusive of the people that choose not to come back to the office.”


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