No place like it: Vivian Trang work from home yesterday. Photo: Jason South
Growing home computer links to the office and flexible hours mitigated the impact of the Melbourne CityLink debacle for some workers.
In peak hour yesterday morning Vivian Trang, of Maribyrnong, a web designer, gave up trying to drive to her Prahran workplace and returned home after travelling just two kilometres east down Ballarat Road in 30 minutes.
She was able to work the rest of the day at home, accessing emails and arranging for the online transfer of design files so she could work on websites and apps.
Tim Fawcett, a business development manager for a Collins Street IT company, has an agreement with his employer to work from home as he chooses - chiefly to care for his two children.
After hearing CityLink and the arterials into the city from his Yarraville home were blocked, that flexibility was a boon.
''I waited until after the traffic cleared,'' he said. ''I went home, logged on and worked from home for an hour and a half and then drove in.'' He says he has the same desktop at home as the office and often uses video conferencing to talk to colleagues or ''attend'' meetings. He sees himself as ''an advocate for teleworking or telecommuting'' and the gridlock was ''a great advertisement for it''.
Richard Clancy, of the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said employers have become more open to people working flexible hours or from home.
Women returning to work after having children, for example, were seen as ''a valuable resource, and [businesses] work at making arrangements and putting in place policies that facilitate the retention of those workers'', he said.
But there was more scope for such arrangements in industries such as IT ''than perhaps other roles where direct interaction between customers or clients is needed'', he said.
The latter applies to Fiona Jensen, a support worker and manager at a mental health and homelessness service.
Yesterday Ms Jensen took two attempts to get from Yarraville to work at Rosanna, arriving at noon, but she felt the need to be there.
''I need to have a lot of face-to-face contact with people. My clients are disadvantaged; when you're homeless you're unlikely to have the internet and Skype.''