New report reveals majority of Australians consider home as their work

Elizabeth Barry 22 November 2016

driving with uber

The report, commissioned by innovative insurer Trōv, reveals the changing nature of Australia's workforce.

A new report released today has shown Australia's shift towards the gig economy and an increased reliance on flexibility in the workplace. The report, commissioned by insurance platform Trōv and conducted independently by YouGov, was undertaken by the insurer in order to see how Australians work and how they stay productive.

"How people work has changed with the rise of mobile technology that enables the ability to work just about anywhere.  Many are highly dependent on these tools to do their jobs effectively," said Scott Walchek, CEO of Trōv.

One of the most surprising statistics is that the majority of those surveyed (31%) consider home to be their primary place of work. This was closely followed by a private office (29%), a co-working space (17%) and a cafe (8%).

The Uberisation of the workforce

The gig economy, which has grown with the rise of services such as Airtasker, Uber and Deliveroo, also featured largely in Australia's new working reality.

Almost one-third (29%) cited the need to travel to different locations as the reason why they don't work in a traditional office, with the same percentage saying they did not have access to such an office.

While the gig economy is revolutionising people's ideas about what "normal" work is, Walchek says the idea of the gig economy is revolutionary in itself.

"People have been working as freelancers for years across industries, but in recent years have people rejected the 'traditional' working patterns and embraced the opportunity to work how they like."

"It doesn’t represent challenge, but rather an opportunity for both the business and the worker."

Differences in demographics

The statistics differed across age groups and cities. Two statistics demonstrated the folly of assumptions based on age: reliance on mobile phones increases with age and younger people are more likely to freelance while working full-time.

The age group most dependent on their phones as "essential items" is those between 35-44 (86%), followed by those aged 45-54 (82%) and those aged 55-65 (82%). This compares to 71% of 18-24-year-olds and 79% of 25-34-year-olds.

Over a quarter of people (28%) aged 24-44 work full-time as well as freelance compared to 15% of those aged 45-54.

Over a quarter of Sydneysiders (26%) work full-time and have a full-time job, closely followed by Melbourne (20%) and Perth (19%).

Walchek says this isn't because these cities are more conducive to work, but rather it's due to the opportunities that are available.

"Cities like Sydney and Melbourne have been offering easy avenues to make extra money on the side, for example through businesses like UberX and Deliveroo, for longer than other cities," he said.

What does this mean?

Trōv has developed its business around flexibility. Those looking for insurance can turn cover off or on using their phones. While this helps to solve one issue in the new Australian workforce, Walchek says there are still challenges.

"In traditional jobs, workers are provided with the tools they need to do their work. Freelancers, however, are faced with the challenge of maintaining a business on their own. This is where Trōv comes in."

"It’s natural for businesses to resist this new style of working, but as "non-traditional" forms of work become more commonplace and people around the country seek to empower their working and extracurricular lifestyle, I think we’ll see a surge in people freelancing and more businesses becoming flexible."

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