Last night I attended a forum on teleworking held at the Regional Development Australia Central Coast (RDACC) offices at Ourimbah. The reasonable size group was a mix of interested people trying to promote telework on the coast plus those who actually do for some portion of their working work, others who would like to.
For background, 2 days per week I work from home on the Central Coast. I am fortunate that my occupation of software developer affords me the opportunity to easily work remotely from the office. And because the laptop I use is my factory, I can perform most parts of my job on a train, turning often unproductive travel time into actual work, planning or learning time. BTW this post is being written while on the train.
The forum heard from a range of speakers including Barbara Lepani for a federal government perspective on their efforts to promote telework and the obvious tie in with the NBN rollout. Speakers spoke on their experiences and frustrations of long travel time every day and the strain that places on themselves and their family. There was also discussion on approaching employers and the ways workers have been able to get telework as part of their working week, and the obstacles a potential teleworker is likely to find from organisations.
One area I was interested in is telwork centres in Gosford and Wyong which are planned as part of National Teleworking Week November 12-16. These would be great for those unable to work from their homes, and I could see becoming permanent places. Roll that it with collaborative spaces for micro businesses and freelancers, and this could have the added benefit of giving Gosford CBD some weekday life back.
To me telerwork is a no brainer for many occupations, with a decent internet connection, a professional attitude by the worker, and an open mind by those they work with. And given that its reported that towards 40,000 Central Coast residents travel outside their area for their work, that is a lot of potential teleworkers.
Given a large part of the audience they want to reach was actually commuting at the time of the forum (5:30), would it be possible to have the next forum on a morning CityRail train?