Almost half of NZ SMEs have remote workers within their business

22 Apr 2013

New Zealanders more likely to see the financial benefits than Australians

New research by New Zealand’s largest accounting software provider, MYOB, reveals almost half the country’s small and medium businesses (SMEs) now have employees who work from home or away from the office.

MYOB commissioned independent market research firm Colmar Brunton to conduct a nationally representative survey of 1,047 SMEs. 18% said their employees worked ‘mainly away from the office’, 28% said they worked ‘partly from home and from the office’ and the remainder did not have remote workers.

One key finding was that SMEs whose employees worked mostly from a location other than business premises were 43% more likely to have seen a revenue rise in the past year than those without remote workers. They were 21% less likely to see a revenue fall.

The survey also highlighted that while fewer New Zealand businesses have teleworkers than Australian businesses, where 57% support the practice, they were more likely to see the financial benefits. Australian businesses with teleworkers were only 24% more likely to see revenue rise in the past year.

MYOB General Manager, Business Division, James Scollay says, “The link between teleworking and improved business results is clear in MYOB’s research. SMEs whose employees worked remotely most or all of the time were 43% more likely to experience a revenue rise in the past year. 40% experienced a rise, compared to 28% whose staff only worked from the office.

“When looking at businesses whose revenue fell, 29% of the SMEs without teleworkers saw a fall, versus 23% of those whose staff teleworked most of the time. These trends speak volumes as to why empowering employees to work outside the traditional confines of an office is becoming increasingly prevalent. Businesses are realising the bottom line benefits and rewards from more engaged employees.”

Business advantages

Key benefits experienced by the 46% of SMEs whose staff telework include improved employee satisfaction and IT performance, travel savings and increased productivity.

Employees are more productive 27%
Travel costs have been reduced 26%
Employees are happier 24%
Overall IT performance has been improved 19%
My business’s carbon footprint has been reduced 16%
Business manager(s) is/are happier 14%
IT issues have been reduced 14%
IT costs have been reduced 13%
I can hire employees living in any location/s 13%
Premises rental costs have been reduced 9%
The number of employee sick days has dropped 5%
I can attract higher quality staff 5%
Other 15%

Mr Scollay says, “Technology is a key enabler of teleworking and nowadays you don’t need to spend much money upfront to get started. There are plenty of simple free online technologies and applications available such as Skype, Dropbox and Gmail. And the cloud-enabling of new versions of more fully featured applications such as Microsoft Office 365 and MYOB AccountRight Live makes for an easy transition for working remotely.”

Teleworking technologies

Respondents whose employees worked away from the office to some extent were asked what technologies they used for teleworking. Almost three in four used email, more than three in five used laptops/computers and more than one in two used smartphones. Interestingly, fewer than one in 10 used VPN and video conferencing.

Email 74%
Laptop/computer 61%
Smartphone 51%
Instant messaging 23%
Cloud computing services 17%
Security software / firewall 17%
Telephone conferencing 13%
VOIP 10%
VPN (virtual private network) 8%
Router at the teleworker’s premises 8%
Video conferencing 7%
Other 8%
Those most likely to telework

Delving further into the research, SME operators most likely to use teleworking include those in:

Medium to large sized businesses (76% versus 48% in micro businesses, which were the least likely)

Business, professional and property services and construction and trades sectors (57% versus 24% in agribusiness, forestry and fishing)

Start-up businesses (55% versus 43% of established businesses)

Metropolitan based businesses (52% versus 29% of their rural counterparts)

Auckland (53% versus 46% in Christchurch).

For MYOB product information, research results, business tips, discussions, customer service and more visit the MYOB Business Monitor webpage, The Pulse blog, MYOB LinkedIn, MYOB Facebook or MYOB YouTube.


For further information or immediate comment, please contact:

Kristy Sheppard


Tel: 09 925 3560

Mob: +61 407 450 860


Gerard Blank

The Agency Communications Limited

Tel: 03 341 5841

Mob: 0275 243 629


About MYOB New Zealand

Established in 1991, MYOB is New Zealand's largest business management solutions provider. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across New Zealand and Australia, by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and now spends more than NZ$35 million annually on research and development. In 2013, MYOB expanded its offerings with the acquisition of accounting solutions provider BankLink. For more information, visit

About the MYOB Business Monitor

The MYOB Business Monitor is a national survey of 1,000+ New Zealand small and medium business owners and managers, from sole traders to mid-sized companies, representing the major industry sectors. It has run since 2009, commissioned to independent market research firm Colmar Brunton. This most recent survey ran late January/early February 2013. The Monitor researches business performance and attitudes in areas such as profitability, cash flow, pipeline, technology usage and the government. The weighting of respondents by both geographical location and sector is based on overall market proportions as established by Statistics New Zealand and is drawn from an independent survey group, which includes both MYOB clients and non-clients.