Walking into Microsoft Australia’s Sydney headquarters today would probably seem rather eerie. The largely empty office comes about ahead of National Telework Week, with the global software giant encouraging its employees to avoid heading into the office today.
“At Microsoft, work is a thing you do, not a place you go,” Steven Miller, Microsoft office division lead, said. “Our offices are wherever we are, our work hours are when we choose them. It’s the outcome that’s important.”
Miller added that Microsoft’s empty office initiative is to demonstrate that one doesn’t need to be at a desk to get work done, an important message to send considering Miller’s field. “I lead a division that is dedicated to creating a set of productivity tools that lets our customers get the job done from anywhere and I think it’s important that we walk the talk.”
While some Australian organisations are offering flexible working models, a survey by Microsoft found that half of Australian employees with flexible work options still felt pressured to go into the office, highlighting a break-down between policy and culture.
This represents a disconnect between Australian workplaces and the global trends, with Citrix’s report Mobility in Business finding 91% of organisations globally offer some form of flexible work arrangement.
Other findings included:
29% of organisations globally encourage and enable individuals to work from anywhere on any device.
23% allow work from anywhere, but only on corporate devices.
17% only allow certain employees to do so.
14% allow such work, but do not actively encourage it.
The US and China lead the world in offering flexible work, with 63% of US organisations offering work from any location on any device, and 69% of Chinese organisations doing the same.
48% of organisations in both China and The US ‘fully encourage’ flexible work’.
“Often these debates are looked at through the lens of achieving better work-life balance. But really it should be about making life work better. Every company has different circumstances and every company needs to work out what’s right for them. But the economy and our society is transforming and our workplaces need to be able to transform with it,” Miller concluded.