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Demand For Flexible Work Rises As Employers Try to Rein In Remote Staff


7 August 2017 at 8:52 am
Rachel McFadden
Just under half of employees list work flexibility as one of their three top priorities when it comes to career decisions and the demand for flexible working has increased by 21 per cent in Australia, according to a new global report.


Rachel McFadden | 7 August 2017 at 8:52 am


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Demand For Flexible Work Rises As Employers Try to Rein In Remote Staff
7 August 2017 at 8:52 am

Just under half of employees list work flexibility as one of their three top priorities when it comes to career decisions and the demand for flexible working has increased by 21 per cent in Australia, according to a new global report.

The 2017 ManpowerGroup Solutions Work, For Me report found the greatest demand for flexibility in the workforce was flexible starting and finishing times closely followed by the ability to do full time work at home.

The report surveyed 14,000 employees across 19 countries and found that flexibility was reported as key to achieving work life balance.

However, the desire for certain flexible working arrangements over others differed greatly between countries.

Respondents from the United States had the greatest demand for unlimited paid time off, while people in China were three times as likely to desire sabbaticals. More than one fifth of employees in the Netherlands prefered part-time work over full time work.

Just over one-fifth of Australian employees wanted flexible working times or the ability to work full time from home, while 14 per cent wanted part time work from home.

Only three per cent of Australian employees reported their greatest desire for flexible work arrangements was carer’s leave.

ManpowerGroups Solutions said: “In each country, a complex dynamic between logistical, economic, cultural and idealistic factors drive candidate preferences for flexible work arrangements.”

The survey also concluded that the desire for flexibility was “rapidly becoming a gender-neutral issue.”

The survey found globally, 55 per cent of women and 45 per cent of men required flexible work arrangements, in Australia it was slightly higher with 60 per cent of women requiring more flexibility and 40 per cent of men.

The survey also found that the desire for part-time working arrangements was higher in Australia (42 per cent) compared to the global average of 36 per cent.

The report also said: “Many companies struggle with entrenched company cultures that emphasize presenteeism and unknowingly cultivate flexibility stigma, a workplace phenomenon that measures success based on attendance rather than performance and quality of outcomes.”

“Yet, employers have a right to be concerned about the productivity of their employees,” the report said.

The Work, For Me report comes on top of Indeed’s Hiring Lab report that noted while the percentage of at-home workers grew from 19 per cent to 22 per cent between 2003 and 2016 major employees such as IBM, Best Buy, Wall Street Journal, Reddit and Aetna had recently reined in their remote workers.

But the ManpowerGroup Solutions report said workplace flexibility could be a”win-win”.

“Workplace flexibility as a talent management policy is no longer an option; it is an essential practice that enables organizations to attract and develop skilled talent,” it said.

“The practice is rapidly becoming a win-win: reflective of employee and employer needs.”

The Work, For Me report and its six recommendations for workplaces in transitioning to a flexible workforce is available here.

 


Rachel McFadden  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Rachel is a journalist specialising in the social sector.

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