RMIT Vietnam NewsNew ways to work can improve HCMC

New ways to work can improve HCMC

Monday, January 7, 2019 - 14:39

With Ho Chi Minh City predicted to become the second-fastest growing city economy in Asia within the next three years, ‘anywhere working’ could be key to improving the city’s liveability, new research has found.

Published in Journal of Cleaner Production, the research, An Investigation into Anywhere Working as a System for Accelerating the Transition of Ho Chi Minh City into a More Liveable City investigated the impact of Ho Chi Minh City’s traffic congestion, air pollution and limited infrastructure on living conditions linked to the city’s booming economy.

Ho Chi Minh City, one of the fastest growing city economies in Asia, is also experiencing the negative impacts of its booming economy: traffic congestion, air pollution, and limited infrastructure.

RMIT Vietnam Lecturer and lead author Dr Reza Akbari, said the research was inspired by the rapid speed in which the city was growing, which will inevitably cause “a lot of challenges” through an increase in traffic congestion and pollution.

“We looked into methods or practices to be able to transform [some of those challenges] by looking into anywhere working practices,” Dr Akbari said.

Dr Akbari described anywhere working as a work model outside the tradition office setting, where the employee communicates by cloud-based technology. As more cars and motorbikes hit Ho Chi Minh City’s streets every day, Dr Akbari believes anywhere working is a viable method of shortening commutes.

“Anywhere working is not just from home,” he said. “We can have different hubs or offices in different districts where people can perform their job over there without having to travel all the way to District 1 [the city’s downtown core] or from one side of the city to the other.”

The research determined the average commute length to and from work among respondents was 140 minutes. The shortest reported commute was five minutes, while the longest was 205 minutes.

While 74 per cent of the city’s commuters revealed they would like to engage in anywhere working, only 41 per cent of respondents were given employer permission to do so, and 29 per cent admitted they didn’t know whether it was an option in their workplace.

Anywhere working is a work model outside the traditional office setting, where employees communicate via cloud-based technology.

Most surprisingly, the research revealed the age group with the highest response rate of disliking remote work was respondents under 24 years old, which is contrary to research of a similar nature conducted in other countries.

“The most significant challenge to any long-term adoption of the practice [in HCMC] would be the aversion to anywhere working found in the youngest age group. This was an unexpected result, which warrants further investigation.”

Dr Akbari believes anywhere working is a viable method of shortening commutes and could be key to improving HCMC’s liveability.

An Investigation into Anywhere Working as a System for Accelerating the Transition of Ho Chi Minh City into a More Liveable City was a collaboration between RMIT University and Swinburne University. RMIT University Lecturer Dr Akbari, along with co-author from Swinburne University Dr John Hopkins created a detailed survey to discover how people commuted to work from home every day in HCMC and followed the journeys of 201 engaged HCMC participants over a two-year period.

Story: Michael Tatarski