According to a report by transport research body iMove, Australians have seen an A$5.6 billion reduction in travel time costs thanks to work from home (WFH) arrangements.
The iMove report, Prospects for working from home: Assessing the evidence [PDF], also found that future investments in physical transport infrastructure must be assessed in unison with opportunities for investment in digital work ecosystems.
“The global COVID pandemic can be said to have disrupted Australian life more than at any time since World War II and resulted in an unchosen ‘political challenge’ for millions of working Australians, as well as their families, friends and roommates,” the report said.
Its key policy recommendations highlight the need to support voluntary bargaining between employers and employees, to ensure that workers are not seriously disadvantaged or exploited, and to invest more in digital and physical infrastructure.
Read also: The four-day work week is coming, so you better get ready
In addition, the report argues that governance structures for transport planning and investment procedures should be strengthened to manage the risk of costly mistakes, as the work-from-home model has effectively muddled demand estimates for transport before Covid.
In this regard, the report recommends that future investments in physical transport infrastructure include an additional stress test to examine the relative merits of alternative or parallel investments in digital infrastructure.
The report goes on to claim that recent significant advances in telecommunications technology and investments in digital infrastructure have so far enabled the success of the work-from-home model.
“Increasing bandwidth and reducing latency for Australian businesses and households has enabled an increasing number of occupations to work effectively from home,” the report said.