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Importance of work flexibility


5 July 2023 at 3:13 pm
Danielle Kutchel
For-purpose workplaces are turning to flexible working to attract new hires.


Danielle Kutchel | 5 July 2023 at 3:13 pm


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Importance of work flexibility
5 July 2023 at 3:13 pm

Workplace flexibility is post-COVID buzzword on every employee’s lips. Take a look at any job ad, and you’ll see mentions of ‘hybrid working’, ‘flex working’ or ‘negotiable’ work locations.

The for-purpose sector is not immune to the new wave of workplace flexibility that has swept through the world since the advent of the pandemic, as this year’s Salary Survey reveals. 

“We will look back to the times pre Covid where we asked employees to drive or ride unpaid to and from work each day as some kind of madness. The relationship of people to their workplaces, their employers and to their work has fundamentally and permanently shifted”, said Karen Mahlab AM

According to our study, workplace flexibility – including flexible working hours and location – is the top talent attraction strategy being used by organisations, with almost half of respondents ranking this as their preferred strategy. In fact, it was rated higher than other tactics like additional leave entitlements and higher than average remuneration. 

Workplace flexibility also ranked higher than relying on the organisation’s cause and reputation to attract talents.

Meanwhile, according to the Salary Survey, staff who are leaving their roles aren’t leaving in search of greater workplace flexibility. Instead, they’re more commonly chasing more competitive remuneration, which suggests staff may be largely content with the flexibility on offer at their organisation.

 

Learning from the pandemic

Workplaces faced major disruption over the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of the shifts made have continued as the world adjusts to a new routine. Research by McKinsey & Company in 2021 found that some organisations were “planning to shift to flexible workspaces after positive experiences with remote work during the pandemic”.

The University of Melbourne’s Dr Erica Coslor and Edward Hyatt also note that COVID-19 drove a “revolution” for working from home. 

“Many employees have long called for more and better flexible work arrangements, whether to accommodate carer duties, working parents or work-life balance,” the researchers write.

But they caution that not all roles can be performed from home or flexibly, and the flexibility also requires a shift in some practices, like management and work-life balance.


Danielle Kutchel  |  @ProBonoNews

Danielle is a journalist specialising in disability and CALD issues, and social justice reporting. Reach her on danielle@probonoaustralia.com.au or on Twitter @D_Kutchel.


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