3.5 million of us regularly work from home according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

Amazing! That is almost one in three Australian workers. This shows that the push to workplace flexibility is relentless. Aussie employers need to catch on fast.

People are taking work home – sometimes because they can’t get it done in office hours, which is not so good, but sometimes because it suits them better and gives them more options about how and when they work.

The ABS data reveals that 30 per cent of the workforce is now working from home as some part of their main job. This is both good news and bad news.

The bad news is that some people have extremely heavy workloads and need to “catch up” at home, donating untold hours of free labour to their employers every year. Full-time workers put in an average of six hours of unpaid overtime each week, and part-timers donate an average of three hours each week, according to the ABS data.

The good news is that about 1.3 million people say that they choose to work home because it suits them better. Reasons vary but typically it is because of things like being able to collect children from school, being able to take elderly relatives to appointments, to reduce time wasted on public transport, to save on office costs or just to spend more time with family and friends.

For many, this improves their work-life balance significantly. Both parents can get home earlier to help with the dinner, bath and bed routine, and then catch up on a few hours of office work after the kids are asleep. Or they can find the time to go to an afternoon medical appointment with a loved one.

The ABS data comes from their Characteristics of Employment survey, which collected information on weekly earnings and working arrangements, among other things.

The data reveals that the number of employed people who work from home has dramatically risen from 20 per cent of the entire labour force to 30 per cent in 15 years.