WFH survey drives call for new approach to urban growth

By on 12 August, 2020

Urban planner calls for more liveable, walkable approach to growth in cities following a survey of Australians working from home.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 46 percent of the workforce were working from home during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Australia.

A new survey of 1,000 workers-from-home commissioned by Pureprofile for urban planners RobertsDay has found that avoiding their commute, finding more time in the day and a better work-life balance were the key benefits reported by those workers.

Skipping their commute was the chief perk reported by 72 percent of respondents — and a work commute chews up 4.5 hours per week for Australians on average, according to research from the Melbourne Institute.

Mike Day, co-founder and director of RobertsDay, said that these findings add weight to current best practice principles for urban growth, which favour a decentralised approach.

“Overall, these survey results show just how much Australian workers believe they can achieve while working from home – especially if they are not spending an hour or two commuting to and from the workplace every day,” he said.

“If employers listen to what their employees most enjoy about working from home, we may see a decentralisation of much of the workforce from the cities to the metropolitan growth areas – a key reason why we should embrace the concept of living and working ‘locally.’”

Mr. Day said that  the pandemic-led switch to remote working has reaffirmed that view that rapidly growing suburbs should be designed around the principles of Victorian Government’s ‘20-minute neighbourhood’ report, in which workplaces and essential services, such as schools and grocery shops, are accessible from home on foot or by bike.

“As NSW, Queensland, and the ACT face the possible prospect of a lockdown similar to that of Victoria, it presents an opportunity for all levels of government to embrace the ‘20-minute neighbourhood’ initiative and, in turn, deliver more equitable, sustainable and affordable contemporary communities that can provide a much more resilient and sustainable living environment during prolonged periods of remote working,” he said.

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