Scott Morrison hails 'miracle' as Coalition snatches unexpected victory

The Coalition has been re-elected in a shock result in which Labor lost seats in Queensland, Tasmania and NSW and failed to make more than minimal gains nationally.But former prime minister Tony Abbot...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Coalition likely to win election in Trump-like upset, but Abbott loses Warringah

Against expectations, Scott Morrison has led the Coalition government back to power.Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-NDWith 57% of votes counted in the election, the ABC is projecting that the Coa...

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne - avatar Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

Infographic: what we know about the results of Election 2019 so far

As of 10.01pm Saturday, May 18 2019:...

Emil Jeyaratnam, Data + Interactives Editor, The Conversation - avatar Emil Jeyaratnam, Data + Interactives Editor, The Conversation

Bob Hawke, the environmental PM, bequeathed a huge 'what if' on climate change

Since the news broke of his passing, Bob Hawke has been feted as the “environmental prime minister”. From saving the Franklin River, to protecting Antarctica from mining, conservationists ...

Marc Hudson, Researcher, University of Manchester, University of Manchester - avatar Marc Hudson, Researcher, University of Manchester, University of Manchester

You are what you vote: the social and demographic factors that influence your vote

Your income, type of work, where you were born, and other social and demographic factors influences your vote more than you may think.The Conversation / ShutterstockAustralia has changed in many ways ...

Rob J Hyndman, Professor of Statistics, Monash University - avatar Rob J Hyndman, Professor of Statistics, Monash University

View from The Hill: Bob Hawke was master of managing government

It’s always easy to romanticise the past – in celebrating the prime ministership of Bob Hawke it is important to remember it had its peaks and troughs.Trouble marked many years – the...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Vic Stockwell’s Puzzle is an unlikely survivor from a different epoch

Sign up to the Beating Around the Bush newsletter here, and suggest a plant we should cover at batb@theconversation.edu.au.On the western side of Mount Bartle Frere, the tallest mountain in Queensland...

Andrew Thornhill, Research botanist at the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia/Environment Institute, University of Adelaide - avatar Andrew Thornhill, Research botanist at the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia/Environment Institute, University of Adelaide

Vital Signs: for the best election predictions, look to the betting markets, not the opinion polls

It turns out that betting markets are quite good predictors, on average.www.shutterstock.comOpinion polls haven’t done too well in some important recent elections.Polls failed to foresee the Bre...

Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSW - avatar Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSW

What I learned from Bob Hawke: economics isn't an end itself. There has to be a social benefit

When I was growing up in Adelaide in the 1970s I wanted to be like Bob Hawke. Other kids generally wanted to be cricket, football or rock stars. I wanted to be a research officer with the Australian C...

Tim Harcourt, J.W. Nevile Fellow in Economics and host of The Airport Economist, UNSW - avatar Tim Harcourt, J.W. Nevile Fellow in Economics and host of The Airport Economist, UNSW

GetUp!'s brand of in-your-face activism is winning elections – and making enemies

GetUp! protesters outside the second leaders' debate in Adelaide earlier this month.David Mariuz/AAPIt can be hard for a political cause to get noticed in a jaded world awash with information, but con...

Mark Rolfe, Honorary associate, School of Social Sciences, UNSW - avatar Mark Rolfe, Honorary associate, School of Social Sciences, UNSW

VIDEO: Michelle Grattan on the passing of Bob Hawke - and the final campaign push

University of Canberra Deputy Vice-Chancellor Leigh Sullivan speaks to Michelle Grattan about the week in politics. They discuss the passing of former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke and his legacy, as...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

As we face pressing global issues, the pavilions of Venice Biennale are a 21st century anomaly

One of the most powerful images at this year's Venice Biennale is Christoph Büchel's Barca Nostra, 2018-2019, Shipwreck 18th of April 2015. La Biennale di VeneziaThe 58th Venice Biennale of Art o...

Felicity Fenner, Associate Professor at UNSW Art & Design, UNSW - avatar Felicity Fenner, Associate Professor at UNSW Art & Design, UNSW

This is what happens to a baby's body during birth

Delivering a human baby – which has a large, highly developed brain – is risky for mother and baby. jaredandmelanie/flickr , CC BYPregnancy, labour and delivery are incredibly physically ...

Ian Wright, Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health Research, University of Wollongong - avatar Ian Wright, Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health Research, University of Wollongong

Final poll wrap: Race tightens in Ipsos and Dutton just ahead in Dickson, plus many more seat polls

The election campaign is finally coming to an end, with Australians to head to the polls tomorrow.AAP/Bianca de Marchi/Tracey NearmyThe federal election will be held tomorrow. Polls close at 6pm Austr...

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne - avatar Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

What if you never had to return to work? Never had to return to work at the office, that is.

You’d be able to juggle kids on school holidays. You wouldn’t need to navigate traffic jams. Your employer might gain increased productivity, lower turnover and lower lease costs. But there are less obvious downsides.

In 2010, as part of building a case for the national broadband network, the Gillard government set a target for teleworking, suggesting the Australian economy could save between A$1.4 billion and A$1.9 billion a year if 10% of the workforce teleworked half the time.

Her successors have cooled on the idea. The web address www.telework.gov.au no longer works and reliable statistics for telework don’t exist.

Yet it’s attractive.

It seems like a grand idea…

Studies find working from home cuts commuting times and associated fatigue, transport congestion, and environmental impacts. Worldwide, an increasing number of employers are allowing it in order to attract and retain staff.

Employees value it as a way to maintain a work-life balance, in particular millennials.

And the office has become a nightmare for some. A tide of research finds many employees working in modern open-plan offices are so distracted by noise and interruptions they can’t concentrate.

Read more: A new study should be the final nail for open-plan offices

In my research on the workplace, employees frequently tell me they have to work from home to get work done.

Other research supports these findings. A two-year study using randomly assigned groups found a 13% productivity increase. It also found turnover decreased by 50% among those working at home and that they took shorter breaks and fewer sick days. And the company saved around US$2,000 (A$2,784) per employee on lease costs.

It’s enough to make employers allow working from home for everyone who can. But a key finding from the same study sounds a cautionary note.

More than half the volunteers that worked from home felt so isolated they changed their minds about wanting to do it all the time.

…until you try it

It’s not just isolation and loneliness.

Research shows working from home is far worse for team cohesion and innovation than working in the office.

In 2013 Yahoo chief executive Marissa Meyer banned working from home, saying that in order “to become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”

Since then, other large corporates including Bank of America and IBM have followed suit.

Read more: Marissa Mayer is right: your company needs you (in the office)

Contrary to what we might think, research shows that as the availability of laptops and other remote work devices increases, proximity has becoming more important.

One study showed that engineers who shared a physical office were 20% more likely to stay in touch digitally than those who worked remotely. Employees who were in the same office emailed four times as often to collaborate on shared projects than staff who weren’t in the office. The result, for these sorts of projects, was 32% faster project completion times.

Other research finds face to face interaction is essential for identifying opportunities for collaboration, innovation and developing relationships and networks.

Another study of home workers from 15 countries found 42% of remote workers had trouble sleeping, waking up repeatedly in the night, compared to only 29% who always worked in the office.

Some 41% of highly mobile workers felt stress “always or most of the time” compared to only 25% who always worked at the office. Part of the stress is due to being tethered to mobile devices, often kept by beds, as well as the challenges of working from home. Locating colleagues to keep projects moving and trying to do conference calls surrounded by children, barking dogs or delivery people at the door is not as easy as it sounds. Perhaps not surprisingly then, another study finds that, rather than being helpful, working from home is likely to interfere with family life. And other studies suggest not being in the office regularly can hinder your career, resulting in being overlooked for projects or promotions. Out of sight can mean out of mind. For some, what’s best will be some of both There are strong, evidence-based reasons to both work from home and the office. So, what’s best? One thing that can be said with certainty is that workers shouldn’t be forced to work from home because the office is too noisy for them to concentrate. Employers need to ensure the workplace is designed effectively for the type of work that needs to be done, and also for the type of people who work there. Access to flexible work, including working from home is important, but it needs to be balanced with the benefits of face to face interaction. Read more: The rise of the coworking space – sign of the times or flash in the pan? A halfway house is for employees working from home to have access to shared coworking spaces (working with workers from other firms and other industries) where they can get some of the benefits of being in the office without having to travel there. Coworking spaces have been shown to reduce isolation, while providing employees with the benefits of access to a more diverse network and exposure to innovative ideas. Read more: The benefits – and pitfalls – of working in isolation

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/its-not-just-the-isolation-working-from-home-has-surprising-downsides-107140